The US Army Research Laboratory has launched a $35.5m project for a new research centre to study social and cognitive networks.

Under the ten-year project, the new research centre will carefully scrutinise how the networks operate and how information is spread from peer to peer in the military.

The project is supported by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, IBM, and eight other academic institutions, including Harvard, MIT and Indiana University.

The research centre will observe the roles of trust and human error in social networks, as well as methods of diffusion and spreading behaviour in biological and social contagion phenomena.

An Indiana university statement said that “as technological advances provide tools to better monitor social interactions and influence social networks by providing novel ways for humans to interact, researchers want to understand both the human interactions and the underlying technological infrastructure they utilise.”