Association for Computing Machinery
Computer (and human) networks have long had to contend with spreading viruses. Effectively controlling or curbing an outbreak requires understanding the dynamics of the spread. A virus that spreads by taking advantage of physical links or user-acquaintance links on a social network can grow explosively if it spreads beyond a critical radius. On the other hand, random infections (that do not take advantage of network structure) have very different propagation characteristics. If too many machines (or humans) are infected, network structure becomes essentially irrelevant, and the different spreading modes appear identical.