Inderscience Publishers

Complexity induced vulnerability

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This paper addresses a special line of thought, setting the task of taking a straightforward approach to complexity as a source of vulnerability. The practical goal is to attach a relevant metrics to the internal connectivity of multi-component systems, so that this can be turned to account from a Quantitative Vulnerability Assessment (QVA) oriented standpoint. Complexity induced vulnerability continues a line of work initiated under the joint Alliance for Global Sustainability (AGS)-ETHZ project VAMCIS (Vulnerability Assessment and Management of Critical Infrastructures). A major task was the substantiation, by an appropriate innovative effort, of the notion of QVA. To this effect, a variety of models were proposed and/or identified in, and adapted from, the open literature and practice, ranging from physical analogies with the order-disorder phenomena and phase transitions, through thermodynamic interpretations based on the informational entropy of structures, to multicriteria (matrix-wise) processing of opinion pools. Pervading all these were the notions of multi-component (many body) system and its internal connectivity (member interactions). The present model, associated with the Decision Support System (DSS) software named DOMINO, takes an original demonstration of the complexity induced vulnerability approach to a higher level.

Keywords: vulnerability, complexity, critical infrastructures, decision support system, DSS

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