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Correlating Integrative Complexity With System Modularity

[+] Author Affiliations
Kaushik Sinha, Olivier de Weck

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Eun Suk Suh

Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

Paper No. DETC2017-67254, pp. V02AT03A048; 8 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2A: 43rd Design Automation Conference
  • Cleveland, Ohio, USA, August 6–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5812-7
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


Modularity is the degree to which a system is made up of relatively independent but interacting elements. Modularization is not necessarily a means of reducing intrinsic complexity of the system, but it is a means of effectively redistributing the total complexity across the system. High degree of modularization enable reductionist strategies of system development and is an effective mechanism for complexity redistribution that can be better managed by system developers by enabling design encapsulation. In this paper, we introduce a complexity attribution framework to enable consistent complexity accounting and management procedure and show that integrative complexity has a strong inverse relationship with system modularity and its implication on complexity management for engineered system design and development.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Design , Accounting



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