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Dr Chih-Chun Chen and Dr Nathan Crilly of the Cambridge University Engineering Design Centre Design Practice Group have released a free, downloadable book, From Modularity to Emergence: A Primer on the Design and Science of Complex Systems.

 This primer  is very much is a BEGINNERS guide to a  very specific bit of systems science that is of interest in many domains of engineering design, particularly those  involving complicated subsystems (think oil and gas process plants, aircraft, space stations, military technologies, nuclear power plants and their control systems...).

The primary focus  of the book is on ways of 'categorising FIXED system structures across the dimension of modularity vs complexity'. This is of use in choosing such structures for different engineering design purposes. 

For researchers in the realm of engineering systems design,  it complements and adds to the reasoning  found  in e.g. the literature on Morphological Analysis of Zwicky, function/structure/attribute mapping, Suh's Axiomatic  Design theories,  and in DfX literature relating to manufacturing for reliability.

The pdf of From Modularity to Complexity can be downloaded here.

Dr Terry Love
Love Services Pty Ltd