TU Dresden und CAWR

International Synthesis Summerschool

Network functional dynamics - 

Technological, Human & Ecological Dimensions

August 04th-18th 2017, Dresden

Networks are basic structures underlying many natural, social and engineered systems in our environment. Technical networks are e.g. streets, power grids, communication, sewer and water supply networks, while natural networks comprise systems as diverse as river networks, pore structures in the unsaturated zone, food webs and atmospheric transport structures. Network structures are also found in all kinds of societal settings, finance and economics, management, policy and data processing. Internet-based social networks are a relatively new and exciting object of network research. Even though network theory has been developed on a very basic level, process understanding of complex real-world networks and their functional dynamics, e.g. how networks evolve and age, react to external disturbances and recover, has not been sufficiently investigated to date.

The background of the Summerschool organizing team is in water-related disciplines, consequently, a certain emphasis will be put on network aspects in water research. The Summerschool will focus on network functional dynamics. Complex networks in our environment are subject to natural and anthropogenic changes and fluctuations, and network functions dynamically change with these framework conditions. Network functional dynamics of natural, engineered and socio-economic complex networks will be analyzed in different settings, in order to understand driving forces for changes in function, and to identify analogies in functional dynamics between different network types and settings. Ultimately, the goal of network design should be optimization in terms of resilience of network functions. We will focus on the following categories of network functional dynamics:

  • Fluxes and Responses (e.g. “Carrying capacity” vs. “Surcharge”)
  • Interdependencies (Interconnectedness and mutual interference of networks)
  • Disruptions and Recovery (e.g. impact of extreme events)
  • Design and
  • as a crosscutting category: Optimization for Resilience.

In the framework of our Synthesis Summerschool 2017, we want to analyse natural, technical and social network functional dynamics with a very interdisciplinary approach, applying methods and tools from environmental, engineering and traffic sciences, business and finance as well as social sciences. The target group for the Summerschool are early stage researchers, primarily doctoral candidates and post-docs, working with theory, analysis, modelling and simulation of natural and anthropogenic networks in any scientific field. For the analysis of network functional dynamics, different competences, methods and solutions from different disciplines will complement each other and open up new perspectives for participating young scientists on their respective network research objects.

The Synthesis Summerschool is hosted at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering by the Faculty Environmental Sciences jointly with the Faculties Civil Engineering and Transportation and Traffic Science "Friedrich List" and organised by the CAWR - Center for Advanced Water Research. The partners Purdue University und University of Florida are actively involved in the conception and implementation of the Summerschool.


Since 2013, International Summerschools are organized each year at the five Schools of TU Dresden, supported by TU Dresden’s Institutional Strategy. TU Dresden’s Institutional Strategy is funded by the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and State Governments.