The Anatomy of Large Scale Systems
Many theoretical analyses of systems emphasize their behavior. In this paper we shall emphasize the role of organizational structure in influencing certain aspects of the behavior of systems, rather than the full behavior of the systems. There are several historical examples where structure was analyzed early on in order to gain a better understanding of systems. In medicine, for example, anatomy was studied well before we had a deep understanding of the role and behavior of subsystems or infrastructures of the body, such as the liver and blood flow. Different generic structures or architectures provide different advantages and disadvantages in coping with changes in the overall environment in which an evolving system is expected to operate during its lifetime. We shall discuss some of these advantages and disadvantages for various generic structures or architectures. One difficulty in discussing systems issues is the lack of a relatively precise language and concepts for dealing with such issues. We propose that abstract algebra has at least some of the needed concepts.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
ESD Working Papers;ESD-WP-2003-01.25-ESD Internal Symposium