Congressional Briefing Examines Threats & Vulnerabilities of Interconnected Systems
On June 13, 2019, the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) held a joint Congressional briefing entitled "Addressing Threats and Vulnerabilities in Critical Interconnected Systems: Common Principles in Disease Outbreaks, Internet Malware, and Bank Failures." This Capitol Hill briefing was given by Dr. Jon M. Kleinberg, Cornell University.
Kleinberg explained to Congressional staff and other attendees that a vital feature of many critical systems in society is their connectivity -- they are built from large numbers of components linked together in a network. This structure makes it possible to build them at large scales, but it also puts them at risk of cascading breakdowns, when a problem in one component spreads to others. We can look at mathematical models originally developed for epidemic diseases, where a small change in the connectivity of the population or the infectiousness of the disease can lead to large changes in the reach of the outbreak. We then can consider how these models apply when developing detection techniques and countermeasures for risks to highly interconnected systems, including malware on the Internet and failures in banking systems.
See Dr. Kleinberg's presentation slides here and you can read more about the briefing in this article from Cornell University.
Other Congressional Briefings:
Beginning in 2017, the AMS is partnering with MSRI to organize and host bi-annual briefings; prior to 2017, the AMS hosted annual briefings.
November 2005, "From Katrina Forward: How Mathematics Helps Predict Storm Surges", presented by Clint Dawson, professor at the University of Texas and a member of the Center for Subsurface Modeling in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences; and James Westerink, associate professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame.
September 2004, "Homeland Security: What Can Mathematics Do?" presented by Fred Roberts, professor of mathematics and director of the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) at Rutgers University.