Behaviour and Stability of Interconnected Systems: From Biological Applications to Opinion Dynamics

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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An interconnected system is composed of multiple well-defined self-contained subsystems that interact among them and that together create collective behaviours. We can find many examples of interconnected systems in real life. Ranging from biological systems, such as the growth and interaction of populations in diverse and spatially distributed environments, to electric grids connecting power-generating sources, buildings and infrastructures in a country. When studying interconnected systems, a fundamental and natural question is how the properties and characteristics of the individual subsystems and the way they are connected relate to the collective behaviour of the complete system. That is the driving question of the present dissertation. Given that interconnected systems can be found in a wide variety of contexts, their representation and specific research interests can be equally varied. Because of this, it is impossible to answer the aforementioned question uniquely for all interconnected systems, and specific cases must be considered. In this dissertation, we consider two types of interconnected systems: a general class of uncertain multiple-input-multipleoutput (MIMO) systems, and agent-based opinion formation models. The investigation of uncertain MIMO interconnected systems is focused on providing topology-independent conditions for robust stability. The primary motivation for this approach is that, in real systems, it is costly or even impossible to have complete and accurate information on the network topology and subsystem parameters and dynamics. However, it is of critical interest to guarantee the system’s stability. Therefore we need stability conditions that require only partial information about the network and the subsystems to ensure the system’s stability. By studying these systems both in the time and frequency domain, we are able to provide conditions thatmeet these requirements. As for agent-based opinion formation models, we assume that each individual (or agent) in a population has an opinion about a statement. By exchanging opinions among themselves, the agents update their own internal opinion, resulting in a collective dynamic of opinion evolution. When studying these systems, the interests shifts from stability conditions, to a characterisation of the relation between the agents’ individual traits and qualitative properties of the opinion distribution in the population. Several techniques and approaches to analyse opinion formation models are proposed and applied to multiple models, one of which is new to this dissertation. The collective study of the previously mentioned interconnected systems requires the use of multiple and diverse analysis techniques and approaches, from analytical methods based on the Nyquist criterion, Bauer-Fike theorem, and Lyapunov functions to qualitative and numerical analysis techniques like histograms and binomial proportion confidence intervals. It is our hope that some of the presented results, methods, or ideas may advance the knowledge frontier in this scientific field, sparkle new research directions, and either directly or indirectly prove some value to society.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Keviczky, T., Supervisor
  • Giordano, G., Supervisor
Award date12 Jun 2023
Print ISBNs978-94-6384-440-6
Electronic ISBNs978-94-6384-440-6
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Interconnected systems
  • Robust stability
  • Agent based opinion formation models
  • Classification-based opinion formation
  • Linear systems
  • Nonlinear Systems
  • Network dynamics
  • Dynamical networks
  • Opinion dynamics
  • Social systems


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