The objective of this study is to investigate the value of an ecologically inspired architectural metric called the Degree of System Order in the System of Systems (SoS) architecting process. Two highly desirable SoS attributes are the ability to withstand and recover from disruptions (resilience) and affordability. In practice, more resilient SoS architectures are less affordable and it is essential to balance the trade-offs between the two attributes. Ecological research analyzing long-surviving ecosystems (nature’s resilient SoS) using the Degree of System Order metric has found a unique balance of efficient and redundant interactions in their architecture. This balance implies that highly efficient ecosystems tend to be inflexible and vulnerable to perturbations while highly redundant ecosystems fail to utilize resources effectively for survival. Motivated by this unique architectural property of ecosystems, this study investigates the response to disruptions vs. affordability trade-space of a large number of feasible SoS architectures. Results indicate that the most favorable SoS architectures in this trade-space share a specific range of values of Degree of System Order. This suggests that Degree of System Order can be a key metric in engineered SoS development. Evaluating the Degree of System Order does not require detailed simulations and can, therefore, guide the early stage SoS design process towards more optimal SoS architectures.

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