The ELLIIT Focus Period on Network Dynamics and Control ran from September 4 to October 6 in Linköping. During this period 20 visiting scholars had the opportunity to network through seminars and organized activities.

One of the visiting scholars was Anastasia Bizyaeva, postdoc at the AI Institute for Dynamic Systems at the University of Washington, Seattle. Despite the busy schedule, she had time for an interview and to reflect on the focus period.

How long have you been here at Linköping University?

– I had the opportunity to visit for the full five weeks of the focus period.

How has the focus period been, and what activities have you been engaged in during this time?

– The focus period has been fantastic!  I attended most of the organized events, including the seminar series, the contraction theory course, the three-day Symposium, and the ecological network brainstorming session at the University. I have also been getting to know other visiting researchers participating in the program, to draw connections between our different projects and interests.

Exciting interdisciplinary work in Network Dynamics and Control

Seminar held by Anastasia Bizyaeva.

Photo from Anastasias seminar Active risk aversion in SIS epidemics on networks.

You conducted two seminars; could you share your thoughts on how they went and provide a brief overview of their topics?

– The first seminar I gave was on the topic of dynamic decision-making in networked systems. I discussed a modeling framework that enables fast and flexible collective decision-making for technological teams, that is inspired by social systems in nature and the mechanisms they rely on to reach collective decisions efficiently without centralized coordination. I also discussed how this framework can be applied to model real-world social phenomena, such as opinion polarization in social networks and collective decision-making in biological groups.

– The second seminar was on the dynamics of epidemic spread on networks of agents who evaluate and respond to their perceived infection risk. For example, when infection rises in neighboring communities, individuals may implement behavioral modifications such as social distancing and mask wearing. We find that there are significant differences in how infection spreads on networks with accurate risk perception, and ones on which communication between communities is sparse and individuals may underestimate or overestimate their infection risk.

What is the most significant insight or learning you’ve gained from this focus period?

– I feel that there is a lot of exciting interdisciplinary work that is happening in the field of network dynamics and control. I leave the focus period energized and inspired by all my talented colleagues.

A unique and valuable experience

Portait of Anastasia Bizyaeva.

Despite the busy schedule, Anastasia had time for an interview.

If given the opportunity, would you consider participating in another focus period, and would you recommend other researchers to apply for a focus period as well?

– The focus period was a unique and valuable experience. I would absolutely come back for another focus period, and I recommend the opportunity to other researchers who may be considering it in the future.

– The event allowed me to meet other researchers in a similar career stage to myself, and to learn about the many exciting projects they are leading.

– The three-day Symposium also allowed us to learn from distinguished senior researchers, who have more experience and a more comprehensive view of our research field. I am sure the professional connections we all made over the five weeks of the focus period will further flourish through future conferences, workshops, and collaborations.

Read more about the work at the AI Institute for Dynamic Systems here.

Find out more about the ELLIIT Focus Period on Network Dynamics and Control.