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Complex Adaptive Systems William W. Schoening

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1 Complex Adaptive Systems William W. Schoening

2 What Is a Complex Adaptive Systems? Collection of independent systems Developers can make unilateral decisions about their own systems Emergent behavior of the whole is the result of collaboration – explicit & implicit Behavior adapts to the evolving context Examples –Internet –Highway transportation –Air transportation –FCS –Boeing Collection of independent systems Developers can make unilateral decisions about their own systems Emergent behavior of the whole is the result of collaboration – explicit & implicit Behavior adapts to the evolving context Examples –Internet –Highway transportation –Air transportation –FCS –Boeing

3 CAS Seldom Built From Scratch Exceptions –Internet –FCS More common –Road and air transportation –Companies –Governments Exceptions evolve toward less central control over time Exceptions –Internet –FCS More common –Road and air transportation –Companies –Governments Exceptions evolve toward less central control over time

4 Business System Transformation Eastman Kodak Consumer Segment Use with the permission of and thanks to James C. Stoffel, Sr. VP Eastman Kodak Picture Life Cycle for Traditional Technologies Picture Life Cycle for Digital/Hybrid Complex collaborative systems are the way of life in the commercial world

5 Why Are CASs of Interest? All of our systems reside in CASs Can ignore (at own risk) important features so long as pace of change is less than response time NCO and need for more rapid response has made better understand of CASs essential for success All of our systems reside in CASs Can ignore (at own risk) important features so long as pace of change is less than response time NCO and need for more rapid response has made better understand of CASs essential for success

6 What Makes CASs Difficult? Lack of centralized authority over development and evolution Ambiguous and ever changing objectives Continuing adaptation to external world Far more human involvement with potentially conflicting goals Systems can be part of multiple CASs Even CASs developed under authority evolve in collaborations Lack of centralized authority over development and evolution Ambiguous and ever changing objectives Continuing adaptation to external world Far more human involvement with potentially conflicting goals Systems can be part of multiple CASs Even CASs developed under authority evolve in collaborations

7 Nontraditional Approaches Adaptation of concepts from –Chaos theory –Ecology –Biology –Sociology –Psychology –Economics –Business –Politics Modifications to sacred cows of systems engineering Adaptation of concepts from –Chaos theory –Ecology –Biology –Sociology –Psychology –Economics –Business –Politics Modifications to sacred cows of systems engineering

8 Chaos Theory Not about being chaotic Focus –Nonlinear behavior –Starting conditions Suspect focus is misguided –Well understood non-linear behavior is not a problem –Nonstandard (unexpected) behavior is a problem Not about being chaotic Focus –Nonlinear behavior –Starting conditions Suspect focus is misguided –Well understood non-linear behavior is not a problem –Nonstandard (unexpected) behavior is a problem

9 More on Nontraditional Diversity in ecosystems can mitigate viruses Human behavior is psychological and sociological Decisions by owners of component systems are often based on business decisions CAS adaptations are often political Diversity in ecosystems can mitigate viruses Human behavior is psychological and sociological Decisions by owners of component systems are often based on business decisions CAS adaptations are often political

10 Challenging the Sacred Cows Boundaries are in constant flux around the CAS and within the CAS Top-down is insufficient –Bottoms-up & middle-out Verification of CAS-level requirements of little value –What are requirements for an adaptive complex system? –Can you pin down the CAS well enough to perform verification? –Is validation replacing verification at the CAS level? Satisfying requirements ahead of schedule and below cost may not be enough for success Can contractors unilaterally implement features based on own understanding of the higher level CAS? Boundaries are in constant flux around the CAS and within the CAS Top-down is insufficient –Bottoms-up & middle-out Verification of CAS-level requirements of little value –What are requirements for an adaptive complex system? –Can you pin down the CAS well enough to perform verification? –Is validation replacing verification at the CAS level? Satisfying requirements ahead of schedule and below cost may not be enough for success Can contractors unilaterally implement features based on own understanding of the higher level CAS?

11 Some Major Questions What are the keystone systems and behaviors? Given new operating conditions, how might a CAS adapt? What kinds of behavior might we expect from component systems pushed into nonstandard behavior? How will a CAS adapt and behave in nonstandard operating conditions? How should we organize? Are our processes adequate? What are the keystone systems and behaviors? Given new operating conditions, how might a CAS adapt? What kinds of behavior might we expect from component systems pushed into nonstandard behavior? How will a CAS adapt and behave in nonstandard operating conditions? How should we organize? Are our processes adequate?

12 Some Approaches Instead for humans to pick up what machines cannot do, balance human and machine functionality Architect in adaptability, not just design margin Expend more effort to understand possible futures states for CAS Better simulations of CAS Instead for humans to pick up what machines cannot do, balance human and machine functionality Architect in adaptability, not just design margin Expend more effort to understand possible futures states for CAS Better simulations of CAS


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