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Robustness in biological and social systems

From Complex Time
Category
General Reference
author-supplied keywords
keywords
authors
Jessica Flack
Peter Hammerstein
David Krakauer
title
Robustness in biological and social systems
year
2012
source
Evolution and the Mechanisms of Decision Making
publisher
MIT Press
series
J. Lupp
chapter
8

Abstract

Defined as the invariance of system structure or function following a nontrivial perturbation to one or more important system components, robustness is a characteristic property of all adaptive systems. This chapter reviews the theory of robustness in biology, the design of experiments used to assay robustness (including the functional behavior or outputs of a system), and the adaptive response of those parts or components which are compromised by a perturbation. Emphasis is given to a rigorous logic of measurements that carefully factors apart the many casual contributions to robust function. Insights from the study of robustness in biology are applied to the social and decision-making domains, and modifications of experimental design and theory are proposed to account for challenges unique to human agents.

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