Integration Framework for Complex Systems

Integration Framework for Complex Systems

Edward Szczerbicki (The University of Newcastle, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-553-5.ch276


Information is seen as one of the main resources that systems analysts try to use in an optimal way. In this chapter we show how this resource can be used in integration issues. We introduce the problem of information-based integration, propose a solution, and briefly discuss future trends in this area. Systems become increasingly complex. Their decomposition into smaller units is the usual way to overcome the problem of complexity. This has historically led to the development of atomized structures consisting of a limited number of autonomous subsystems that decide about their own information input and output requirements, that is, can be characterized by what is called an information closure. In a real-world context, autonomous subsystems consist of groups of people and/or machines tied by the flow of information both within a given subsystem and between this subsystem and its external environment (Esteve, 2002; Szczerbicki, 2003; Tharumarajah, 1998). Autonomous subsystems can still be interrelated and embedded in larger systems, as autonomy and independence are not equivalent concepts. These ideas are recently gaining very strong interest in both academia and industry, and the atomized approach to complex systems analysis is an idea whose time has certainly come (Liu & Ling, 2003; Orlowski, 2002).

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