Networks Illustrated: Principles without Calculus

Networks are everywhere. From the social connections we make on platforms like Facebook, to the technology behind the Internet upon which these sites run, they have become an integral part of our daily lives. In this course, we will study these networks. Specifically, we will focus on understanding the fundamental principles that guide their designs and sustainability. We will see how the simplest phrases like “sharing is hard” and “crowds are wise” can summarize a vast amount of network theory, that goes into answering questions like “how does 3G work on your smartphone?” and “when can you trust an average rating on Amazon?”. And rather than using heavy math, this course will only require basic arithmetic such as addition and multiplication. We rely on animations, analogies, and anecdotes as our pedagogical tools, in lieu of detailed equations.


Mung Chiang
Mung Chiang
Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering

Mung Chiang's research on networking most recently received the Alan T. Waterman Award (2013). He founded the Princeton EDGE Lab in 2009, and was elected an IEEE Fellow in 2012. He founded the non-profit online education platform “3 Nights and Done” (3ND), “flipped” classroom at Princeton, and chaired the Committee on Classroom Design. He serves as an IEEE Communications Society Distinguished Lecturer and the Chairman of the founding steering committee of the new IEEE TNSE.

Christopher Brinton

Chris Brinton is a fifth year PhD Candidate at Princeton University in the Department of Electrical Engineering. His research is in developing methods to better understand, and to improve the quality of, online (human) learning, through an interdisciplinary combination of machine learning, learning technology, and behavioral science. His current focus is in three main areas: Big Learning Data Analytics (BLDA), Social Learning Networks (SLN), and Integrated and Individualized Courses (IIC).