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NAKFI 2008 - Complex Systems
Abstracts

Robustness in Complex Systems/Network Threats

Andreas Wagner

Many features of complex systems are highly robust to a variety of perturbations. This tutorial is aimed at providing a very high-level survey and a common vocabulary for a discussion of robustness, which has very different connotations in different fields. The tutorial first highlights the dramatic economic and human consequences that a system’s lack of robustness to a perturbation can have. It then classifies different kinds of perturbations, such as external and internal perturbations, as well as random and targeted perturbations. The tutorial then discusses several proximate (mechanistic) causes, as well as ultimate (evolutionary) causes for robustness. It addresses a connection between robustness and innovation, and ends with a variety of open questions that may stimulate further discussion.