From biological and social network metaphors to coupled bio-social wireless networks.


Biological and social analogies have been long applied to complex systems. Inspiration has been drawn from biological solutions to solve problems in engineering products and systems, ranging from Velcro to camouflage to robotics to adaptive and learning computing methods. In this paper, we present an overview of recent advances in understanding biological systems as networks and use this understanding to design and analyse wireless communication networks. We expand on two applications, namely cognitive sensing and control and wireless epidemiology. We discuss how our work in these two applications is motivated by biological metaphors. We believe that recent advances in computing and communications coupled with advances in health and social sciences raise the possibility of studying coupled bio-social communication networks. We argue that we can better utilise the advances in our understanding of one class of networks to better our understanding of the other.

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