Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

The Structural Characteristics of Robustness in Large-Scale Complex Engineered Systems

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  • Modern engineered systems are increasingly integrated into society, decentralized, and interconnected. However, scale and complexity create unique challenges in system design, such as emergent behavior and unintended consequences. This work investigates the structural characteristics of robustness in complex engineered systems by identifying patterns of under-recognized vulnerabilities at various levels of hierarchy. The work begins at the highest level of hierarchy, taking a system of systems view in order to investigate unintended consequences. Then, this work investigates the system architectures that make them prone to certain types of failures using different network modeling perspectives. Finally, this work uses network modeling to identify system elements that are key to controlling system robustness from a system behavior perspective. Altogether, this research provides a novel perspective on robustness of complex systems and presents empirical findings on general patterns of system vulnerabilities that can be used in future system-level architecture design. Applications of the work are focused on aerospace systems but can be applied in a diverse range of domains, including energy and transportation.
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  • This research is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF CMMI 1562027). This research is also partially supported by System-Wide Safety (SWS) project in the Airspace Operations & Safety program (AOSP) in the NASA Aeronautics Research & Mission Directorate (ARMD). Any opinions or findings of this work are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors or collaborators.
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