Inderscience Publishers

Resilience and vulnerability in critical infrastructure systems – a physical analogy

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Systems consisting of parts – which may be seen as atomic (indivisible) components that usually come in large numbers are coupled with each other with a strength expressed as coupling 'energy' and respond to external stress – were often shown to share behavioural features largely indifferent to the nature of the system. Taking advantage of this, the paper employs the physics concept of hysteresis as a derivative of a cooperative behaviour to show that the systems' observed tendency to resist stress and maintain their state and performance level against the driving stress applied is ubiquous and, especially, off-physics is highly meaningful. In this context, the concepts of resiliency and vulnerability of highly interdependent critical infrastructure systems are introduced and experimented within a 'serious gaming' simulation framework.

Keywords: critical infrastructures, resilience, vulnerability, hysteresis, gaming, external stress, simulation

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