Drivers of Extreme Events

The goal of this project is to understand mechanisms leading to extreme events in complex dynamic, with special attention paid to the risk of cascading failure in networks.

Complex socioeconomic and natural systems always experience extreme events that lead to strong and rapid transformations.

Although some extreme events are driven by outside forces, such as economic losses due to earthquakes, this project concentrates on analysis of extreme events triggered by internal dynamics of complex systems. In many cases the process involved in the build-up to such extreme events is poorly visible and the abrupt changes that occur are unexpected—the current global financial crises are an example.

A key goal is to understand systemic mechanisms that lead to extreme events with special attention paid to the risk of cascading failure in networks. Such risks arise in a variety of seemingly disparate systems, including interconnected financial markets, food-supply chains, energy grids, and transportation networks.

The project intends to develop a framework for the analysis of systemic risk in complex dynamic networks and demonstrate its applicability to the assessment and management of networks studied in economics, ecology, and social sciences.

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Last edited: 19 January 2015


2011 - 2015

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313