More than just wires : applying complexity theory to communications network assurance.

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Complexity Theory is the study of order within otherwise chaotic systems (Holland, 1999). Complexity Theory often focuses on Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS). A CAS is a system of components that interact and reproduce while adapting to their environment. A CAS consists of large numbers of components that are diverse in both form and capability. A CAS exhibits unstable coherence in spite of constant disruptions and a lack of central planning. Large-scale, interconnected infrastructures such as communication networks are CAS. These infrastructures are vastly more dynamic than their predecessors. Such infrastructures consist of a large number of components and participants that ... continued below

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6 pages

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North, M.; Macal, C.; Thomas, W. H.; Miller, D. & Peerenboom, J. September 5, 2002.

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Description

Complexity Theory is the study of order within otherwise chaotic systems (Holland, 1999). Complexity Theory often focuses on Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS). A CAS is a system of components that interact and reproduce while adapting to their environment. A CAS consists of large numbers of components that are diverse in both form and capability. A CAS exhibits unstable coherence in spite of constant disruptions and a lack of central planning. Large-scale, interconnected infrastructures such as communication networks are CAS. These infrastructures are vastly more dynamic than their predecessors. Such infrastructures consist of a large number of components and participants that are diverse in both form and capability. Furthermore, these infrastructures exhibit unstable coherence in spite of constant disruptions and a lack of central planning. Viewing large-scale, interconnected infrastructures with complex physical architectures, such as communication networks, as CAS can provide many new insights (Bower and Bunn, 2000; North, 2000a, 2000b, and 2001). The CAS approach emphasizes the specific evolution of integrated infrastructures and their participants' behavior, not just simple trends or end states. The adaptation of the infrastructure participants to changing conditions is paramount. Also, the effects of random events and uncertainty are explicitly considered. One powerful computational approach to understanding CAS is agent-based modeling and simulation (ABMS). Applying ABMS to communication networks and the infrastructures upon which they depend may allow such networks to be understood as more than just wires. Communication networks may then be electronically managed as complete, dynamic systems. An example is the integrated, systems-level computational perspective ABMS has provided to electrical and natural gas infrastructure research (North, 2001). This holistic computational perspective may allow both the physical and human dimensions of complex systems such as communication networks to be anticipated and managed on-line, in real time. Thus, ABMS may be an important tool for developing imperishable networks.

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6 pages

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  • 6th World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics, and Informatics (SCI 2002), Orlando, FL (US), 07/14/2002--07/18/2002

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  • Report No.: ANL/AOD/CP-108597
  • Grant Number: W-31-109-ENG-38
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 801588
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc742519

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  • September 5, 2002

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 19, 2015, 7:39 p.m.

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  • March 22, 2016, 9:12 p.m.

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North, M.; Macal, C.; Thomas, W. H.; Miller, D. & Peerenboom, J. More than just wires : applying complexity theory to communications network assurance., article, September 5, 2002; Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc742519/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.