Networking: A statistical physics perspective

Chi Ho YEUNG, David SAAD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Networking encompasses a variety of tasks related to the communication of information on networks; it has a substantial economic and societal impact on a broad range of areas including transportation systems, wired and wireless communications and a range of Internet applications. As transportation and communication networks become increasingly more complex, the ever increasing demand for congestion control, higher traffic capacity, quality of service, robustness and reduced energy consumption requires new tools and methods to meet these conflicting requirements. The new methodology should serve for gaining better understanding of the properties of networking systems at the macroscopic level, as well as for the development of new principled optimization and management algorithms at the microscopic level. Methods of statistical physics seem best placed to provide new approaches as they have been developed specifically to deal with nonlinear large-scale systems. This review aims at presenting an overview of tools and methods that have been developed within the statistical physics community and that can be readily applied to address the emerging problems in networking. These include diffusion processes, methods from disordered systems and polymer physics, probabilistic inference, which have direct relevance to network routing, file and frequency distribution, the exploration of network structures and vulnerability, and various other practical networking applications. Copyright © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103001
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical
Issue number10
Early online dateFeb 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


Yeung, C. H., & Saad, D. (2013). Networking: A statistical physics perspective. Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical, 46(10). Retrieved from


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