Complexity and modularity are important inherent properties of the system. Complexity is the property of the system that has to do with individual system elements and their connective relationship, while modularity is the degree to which a system is made up of relatively independent but interacting elements, with each module typically carrying an isolated set of functionality. Modularization is not necessarily a means of reducing intrinsic complexity of the system but is a mechanism for complexity redistribution that can be better managed by enabling design encapsulation. In this paper, the notion of integrative complexity (IC) is proposed, and the corresponding metric is proposed as an alternative metric for modularity from a complexity management viewpoint. It is also demonstrated using several engineered systems from different application domains that there is a strong negative correlation between the IC and system modularity. This leads to the conclusion that the IC can be used as an alternative metric for modularity assessment of system architectures.
Integrative Complexity: An Alternative Measure for System Modularity
Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received September 23, 2017; final manuscript received January 4, 2018; published online March 1, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Katja Holtta-Otto.
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Sinha, K., Suh, E. S., and de Weck, O. (March 1, 2018). "Integrative Complexity: An Alternative Measure for System Modularity." ASME. J. Mech. Des. May 2018; 140(5): 051101. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4039119
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