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Emergent (Mis)behavior vs. Complex Software Systems

Mogul, Jeffrey C.

HPL-2006-2

Keyword(s): emergent behavior; emergent misbehavior; complex systems; distributed systems

Abstract: Complex systems often behave in unexpected ways that are not easily predictable from the behavior of their components; this is known as emergent behavior. As software systems grow in complexity, interconnectedness, and geographic distribution, we will increasingly face unwanted emergent behavior. Unpredictable software systems are hard to debug and hard to manage. We need better tools and methods for anticipating, detecting, diagnosing, and ameliorating emergent misbehavior. These tools and methods will require research into the causes and nature of emergent misbehavior in software systems.

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