24th June 2010
The workshop took place at the Complex Systems Institute of Paris, in the 5th district of Paris (quartier Latin) - see Location and Directions for further information.
Transportation networks are fundamental infrastructures of man-made systems: urban streets, aqueducts, supply systems. They also play an important role in many natural systems: foraging trails and underground galleries built by animals, circulatory systems.
In spite of their different origin, transportation networks all share some common features
- an important role of spatial constraints. Either the nodes, or edges, or both are localized in the physical space and some kinds of connections may not be possible (long distance connections, or connections outside planarity)
- a dynamics of network evolution much slower than the dynamics of transportation processes taking place on top of the network. History of growth has an important role in determining network structure
- their efficiency is often measured by two well distinguished measures of cost: the cost of the infrastructure and the cost of transportation
- both natural selection (in the biological systems) and economic and logistic issues (in the human made systems) require that transportation networks be flexible and robust to variations in external conditions, such as traffic or failure of individual links
The principles of organization of biological systems, which can flexibly adapt to unpredicted conditions will possibly serve of inspiration for the building of man made transportation networks. In turn, the logic of organization of man made transportation networks can provide a conceptual frame that will possibly help to elucidate the logic behind biological systems otherwise difficult to characterise.