Anna Nagurney of UMass' Virtual Center for Supernetworks opened the conferences with a great overview of networks in general and some of the basic background of networks.
The most interesting thing was the discussion of Braess' Paradox, which basically talks about the problem that actors within a network do their own optimization for their path through the network. In some cases, this actually ends up with a worse overall path through the network due to competing needs within the network. The source example was a transportation network where adding a new road causes the non-intuitive result of increasing travel times.
This paradox leads Nagurney to the development of Supernetworks research. With Supsernetworks, they are attempting to break the Braess Paradox or build into the analysis the idea of competition within the network. What they've realized is that relationships change the equations for capacity or cost along connections between nodes. They are now beginning to model these effects in many different disciplines.