Robustness in complex information systems: The role of information “barriers” in Boolean networks

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Abstract

In this supposed “information age,” a high premium is put on the widespread availability of information. Access to as much information as possible is often cited as key to the making of effective decisions. While it would be foolish to deny the central role that information and its flow has in effective decision-making processes, this chapter explores the equally important role of “barriers” to information flows in the robustness of complex systems. The analysis demonstrates that (for simple Boolean networks at least) a complex system's ability to filter out, i.e., block, certain information flows is essential if it is not to be beholden to every external signal. The reduction of information is as important as the availability of information. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Complexity, 2010

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