Designing emergence in systems of systems using information streams

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Hochmann, Uriel; Reich, Yoram
Series: ICED
Institution: Tel Aviv University
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 1357-1366
DOI number:


Systems complexity is increasing, in particular, when systems become systems of systems (SoS). SoS are composed of constituent systems (CS), have unique goals for the CS and the SoS as a whole, and present new SoS-level properties called emergent properties. Emergent properties are unique because they only appear at the system level. Current research has only revealed some tools focusing on simple emergence for engineers aiming to design emergence at the SoS level. However, forming design tools for the creation or modification of strong emergence will enable engineers to create systematic changes in the SoS. This article proposes a connection between emergence and information streams with the latter being a model of the transfer of information between the different CS in the SoS. A methodology for designing SoS information streams is demonstrated, with encouraging results, using a multi-agent simulation of the propagation of the COVID-19 virus through citizens. By testing several information stream configurations, an SoS with a decrease of 47% in sick agents was found. These results show that by changing the information stream better SoS performance is attained, supporting designing in a complex world.

Keywords: Systems Engineering (SE), Simulation, Decision making, Systems of Systems, Emergent Properties

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