Analysis of Complex Networks: Structure and Dynamics

Politecnico di Milano
February 20 - 22, 2013


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Exam for PhD students

Last update: Feb 5, 2013

Analysis of Complex Networks:
Structure and Dynamics

Politecnico di Milano, February 20 - 22, 2013

Scientific course organised by

DEIB - Department of Electronics, Information
and Bioengineering
Politecnico di Milano

SICC - Italian Society for Chaos and Complexity


A network is a set of agents pairwise connected by links. Despite the simplicity of this definition, the theoretical properties of networks are extremely rich and diversified. Most notably, networks turn out to be extremely flexible in modeling a wide variety of phenomena characterized by a large number of interconnected elementary units: social networks, the Internet and the WWW, sensor networks, ecological communities, biochemical systems, energy transportation networks, economic and financial networks, are just but a few examples.


The course is part of the teaching activities organized by the PhD Program in Information Technology at Politecnico di Milano, yet it is not only addressed to PhD students, but to all researchers working in any areas of science and engineering and interested in the theory and applications of complex networks. The aim is to illustrate the fundamental theoretical notions as well as a number of applications in specific fields. The basic definitions, a few useful indicators, and the most important network models are first introduced ("structure"). Then, dynamical systems interacting through the network will be considered, to illustrate how phenomena such as epidemic/information diffusion or large-scale consensus and synchronization can be dealt with ("dynamics").




Renato Casagrandi, Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano [webpage]
Fabio Dercole, Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano [webpage]
Fabrizio De Vico Fallani, CNRS UMR-7225, CRICM - Hôpital de La Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris [webpage]
Mario Di Bernardo,
Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, University of Naples "Federico II" [webpage]

Giorgio Fagiolo, Laboratory of Economics and Management, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa [webpage]
Carlo Piccardi, 
Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano [webpage]
Sergio Rinaldi, Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano [webpage]
Alessandro Rizzo, Department of Electrical and Information Engineering, Politecnico di Bari [webpage]
Roberto Tempo, CNR-IEIIT, Politecnico di Torino [webpage]



The language of the course (lectures and notes) is English.

Wednesday, February 20

9:00 - 12:30 
Networks and their topology. Distance, diameter, clustering coefficient, degree distribution, measures of centrality. Network models: random, small-world, scale-free. Community analysis

14:00 - 15:30 
The PageRank computation in Google, randomized algorithms, web aggregation and consensus of multi-agent systems
16:00 - 17:30 
The international-trade network: empirical evidence and modeling

Thursday, February 21
9:00 - 10:30 
[De Vico Fallani] 
Networks in the brain
11:00 - 12:30 
Contact processes on networks: dynamics of epidemic diseases 

14:00 - 17:30 
Networks of dynamical systems and collective behaviors
Emergence of spatial patterns and Turing instability
Master-slave synchronization
Master Stability Function approach

Friday, February 22
9:00 - 12:30 
Connection Graph Stability method
Topological indicators of synchronization propensity
Evolution of biological networks toward synchrony and chaos

14:00 - 15:30 
[Di Bernardo] 
Adaptation and evolution for synchronization and control of complex networks
16:00 - 17:30 
Consensus-based distributed estimation in sensor networks


The participation is free of charge but restricted to:

  • people working at the Politecnico di Milano: PhD students, research associates ("assegnisti"), and professors of any Department;
  • members of SICC - Italian Society for Chaos and Complexity.

Please read carefully here below if you are in none of these two groups.

The application is mandatory for all participants:
  1. If you are a PhD student at Politecnico di Milano, you must include the course in your study plan by the usual Poliself procedure ( read the notes on the exam for PhD students).
  2. If you work at Politecnico di Milano as a professor, post-doc, research associate ("assegnista"), etc., of any Department, you must fill in and mail the registration form [click here for the form].
  3. If you are a SICC member, you must fill in and mail the registration form [click here for the form].
  4. If you are in none of the above categories but wish to participate, please follow the special instructions for joint application to SICC and to the ACN2013 course [go to the page of instructions].

A certificate of attendance will be given to all participants at the end of the course.



The course will be held at the Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria (DEIB), Politecnico di Milano, via Ponzio 34/5 (building 20), 20133 Milano, in the "Sala Conferenze" (ground floor).

The Department building is located in the Bassini campus of the Politecnico di Milano. It is within walking distance of the stations Piola and Lambrate FS of the Metro (underground) line 2 ("green line"), of the tram lines 23 and 33, of the bus line 93, and of the train station Lambrate FS. For further information on how to reach, you can read these instructions.

The organisers of the course cannot take care of travel and accommodation of the participants. Many hotels are available near the campus [click here for a list].


For enquiries about the content of the course, please contact the organizer Prof. Carlo Piccardi (

PhD students of Politecnico doctoral programs, please contact the relevant PhD secretariat for any enquiry about the application procedure or any other administrative information. 

Current and prospective SICC members, please contact the SICC secretariat ( for any information.