Michael Griffin: Complex systems

“Complex systems usually come to grief, when they do, not because they fail to accomplish their nominal purpose. Complex systems typically fail because of the unintended consequences of their design …
I like to think of system engineering as being fundamentally concerned with minimizing, in a complex artifact, unintended interactions between elements desired to be separate. Essentially, this addresses Perrow’s concerns about tightly coupled systems. System engineering seeks to assure that elements of a complex artifact are coupled only as intended.”
– Michael Griffin.