We study the problem of containing spreading processes in arbitrary directed networks by distributing protection resources throughout the nodes of the network. We consider two types of protection resources are available: (i) Preventive resources able to defend nodes against the spreading (such as vaccines in a viral infection process), and (ii) corrective resources able to neutralize the spreading after it has reached a node (such as antidotes). We assume that both preventive and corrective resources have an associated cost and study the problem of finding the cost-optimal distribution of resources throughout the nodes of the network. We analyze these questions in the context of viral spreading processes in directed networks. We study the following two problems: (i) Given a fixed budget, find the optimal allocation of preventive and corrective resources in the network to achieve the highest level of containment, and (ii) when a budget is not specified, find the minimum budget required to control the spreading process. We show that both resource allocation problems can be solved in polynomial time using Geometric Programming (GP) for arbitrary directed graphs of nonidentical nodes and a wide class of cost functions. Furthermore, our approach allows to optimize simultaneously over both preventive and corrective resources, even in the case of cost functions being node-dependent. We illustrate our approach by designing optimal protection strategies to contain an epidemic outbreak that propagates through an air transportation network.
Date of this Version
Date Posted: 03 May 2016
This document has been peer reviewed.