Thursday, January 20, 2011

SOSA Manuel, MIHM Jürgen; BROWNING Tyson
Degree Distribution and Quality in Complex Engineered Systems
INSEAD Working Paper 2011/06/TOM

Complex engineered systems tend to have architectures characterized by a small set of components that are more highly interconnected than others. We call such a set of highly interconnected components hubs. In this paper, we relate the size of a system hub to system quality. First, we formalize the definition of a hub based on the system’s degree distribution. Second, we argue, and provide empirical evidence, that complex systems with hubs of above-average size are more likely to have better quality (i.e., below-average number of defects). Third, we show that complex engineered systems may have an optimal hub size with respect to system quality. Our results suggest that architects and managers aiming to improve the quality of complex systems designs must proactively identify and manage the use of hubs.