Modularity, Robustness, and Change Propagation: A Multifaceted Relation

Sebastiano Piccolo*, Sune Lehmann Jørgensen, Anja Maier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

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Increased system robustness is one of the promises of modularity. However, research on the topic has provided conflicting findings. By generating more than 2000 system architectures, this paper shows that the relation between modularity and robustness is multifaceted: Modularity decreases topological robustness, increases robustness to change propagation, and provides economic benefits. Results here confirm the importance of modularity, enable reconciliation of opposing findings from prior research, and guides researchers and practitioners in the selection of appropriate robustness measures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Design Society
Publication date2020
Article number152
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event16th International Design Conference - Zagreb, Croatia
Duration: 26 Oct 202029 Oct 2020


Conference16th International Design Conference


  • Modularity
  • Robustness
  • Complex systems
  • Network approaches
  • Design structure matrix (DSM)

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