Title: Modelling of cascading effects and efficient response to disaster spreading in complex networks

Authors: K. Peters, L. Buzna, D. Helbing

Addresses: Institute of Logistics and Aviation, Faculty of Traffic and Transport Sciences, TU Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany. ' Institute for Traffic and Economics, Faculty of Traffic and Transport Sciences, TU Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany. ' Institute for Traffic and Economics, Faculty of Traffic and Transport Sciences, TU Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany; Collegium Budapest, Institute for Advanced Study, Szentharomsag u. 2, H-1014 Budapest, Hungary

Abstract: In order to assess cascading effects in directed networks, we present a model for the dynamics of failure spreading. The model combines network nodes as active, bistable elements and delayed interactions along directed links. Through simulations, we study the dynamics behaviour of generic sample networks. Besides evaluating the failure cascades, for which we observe a critical threshold for the undamped spreading of failures in a network, we simulated the effect of different strategies for the management of spreading disasters. Our recovery strategies are based on the assumption that the interaction structure of the challenged network remains unchanged, while additional resources for mitigation actions, improving the recovery capacities of system components, can be distributed over the network. The simulations clearly demonstrate that the topology of a network is a crucial factor both for the behaviour under external disturbances and for the optimality of different strategies to cope with an evolving disaster. Our model may be used to improve disaster preparedness and anticipative disaster response management.

Keywords: cascade failures; disaster dynamics; complex systems; causality networks; disaster response; recovery strategy; critical infrastructures; emergency management; simulation; network failures; modelling; emergency preparedness.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCIS.2008.016091

International Journal of Critical Infrastructures, 2008 Vol.4 No.1/2, pp.46 - 62

Available online: 05 Dec 2007

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article