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Science: Too Many Connections Weakens Networks

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University of California, Davis (UCD) researchers have found that when it comes to linking together networks or other systems, it is best to have many, but not too many, connections.

Too many connections can be dangerous, because failures in one network can easily fall into another, says UCD's Charles Brummitt. "When your network is under stress, the neighboring network can help you out," Brummitt notes. "But in some cases, the neighboring network can be volatile and make your problems worse."

He says the researchers are studying this equilibrium and trying to "find what amount of interdependence among different networks would minimize the risk of large, spreading failures." Network owners should refine the number of links for maximum resiliency.

The researchers are focusing on interlocked power grids but they say their work also could apply to computer networks and interconnected computer systems. "If you have some interconnection between clusters but not too much, then [the clusters] can help each other bear a load, without causing avalanches [of work] sloshing back and forth," says University of New Mexico professor Cris Moore.

From IDG News Service
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