Networks can be combined in various ways, such as overlaying one on top of another or setting two side by side. We introduce `network models' to encode these ways of combining networks. Different network models describe different kinds of networks. We show that each network model gives rise to an operad, whose operations are ways of assembling a network of the given kind from smaller parts. Such operads, and their algebras, can serve as tools for designing networks. Technically, a network model is a lax symmetric monoidal functor from the free symmetric monoidal category on some set to Cat, and the construction of the corresponding operad proceeds via a symmetric monoidal version of the Grothendieck construction.
Keywords: Grothendieck construction, graph, monoidal category, network, operad
2020 MSC: 18D30, 18M05, 18M35, 18M60, 18M80, 68M10, 90B18
Theory and Applications of Categories, Vol. 35, 2020, No. 20, pp 700-744.