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David Newman

Professor Expert in complex theory
Home 112 Reichardt Building 1930 Yukon Drive Fairbanks Alaska 99775 Home Phone: 907-474-7858


Expert in complex systems with a focus on the efficiency of power grids.

Complex systems range from solid state systems through human social systems to engineered systems. Modern societies depend crucially on a web of engineered complex critical infrastructures such as power transmission networks, communication systems, transportation networks in addition to many others.  These infrastructure systems display a number of the characteristic properties of complex systems.

Important among these characteristics, they exhibit infrequent large cascading failures that often obey a power law distribution in their probability versus size and long time correlations (memory). This power law behavior and memory effect suggests that conventional risk analysis does not apply to these systems. Newman studies how these systems relate to power grids. From this research, he and his colleagues found that “improvements” in the system components and operational efficiency do not always improve the system robustness, and that there may be an optimal size for systems.

College of Natural Science and Mathematics
Geophysical Institute

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112 Reichardt Building 1930 Yukon Drive Fairbanks Alaska 99775

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