This dissertation treats a number of related problems in control and data analysis of complex networks.
First, in existing linear controllability frameworks, the ability to steer a network from any initiate state toward any desired state is measured by the minimum number of driver nodes. However, the associated optimal control energy can become unbearably large, preventing actual control from being realized. Here I develop a physical controllability framework and propose strategies to turn physically uncontrollable networks into physically controllable ones. I also discover that although full control can be guaranteed by the prevailing structural controllability theory, it is necessary to balance the number of driver nodes and control energy to achieve actual control, and my work provides a framework to address this issue.
Second, in spite of recent progresses in linear controllability, controlling nonlinear dynamical networks remains an outstanding problem. Here I develop an experimentally feasible control framework for nonlinear dynamical networks that exhibit multistability. The control objective is to apply parameter perturbation to drive the system from one attractor to another. I introduce the concept of attractor network and formulate a quantifiable framework: a network is more controllable if the attractor network is more strongly connected. I test the control framework using examples from various models and demonstrate the beneficial role of noise in facilitating control.
Third, I analyze large data sets from a diverse online social networking (OSN) systems and find that the growth dynamics of meme popularity exhibit characteristically different behaviors: linear, “S”-shape and exponential growths. Inspired by cell population growth model in microbial ecology, I construct a base growth model for meme popularity in OSNs. Then I incorporate human interest dynamics into the base model and propose a hybrid model which contains a small number of free parameters. The model successfully predicts the various distinct meme growth dynamics.
At last, I propose a nonlinear dynamics model to characterize the controlling of WNT signaling pathway in the differentiation of neural progenitor cells. The model is able to predict experiment results and shed light on the understanding of WNT regulation mechanisms.