Examples of complex systems include computers, thunderstorms, the human brain, and corporations. Always they are made up of many parts interacting with one another in specific ways. The outcomes of these interactions are often hard to predict. This chapter examines a few such systems in greater detail. An important aid for visualizing complex systems is the concept of a network. Whenever systems of objects can be characterized in terms of interactions between parts, the systems can be described or, if simple enough, drawn as a network. The chapter explores six networks, including electronic circuits, biochemical networks, and protein-protein interactions, sometimes called the protein-protein interactome, or proteome for short. In each example, characteristic network properties are made possible by careful prespecification of network parts (nodes or edges). The rules of interaction are the laws of chemistry and physics.
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