A Basic Principle for the Architecture of Computer-based information processing

Roberto R Kampfner

Abstract


A Basic Principle for the Architecture of Computer-based information processing

Roberto R. Kampfner
Computer and Information Science Department
College of Engineering and Computer Science
The University of Michigan-Dearborn
Dearborn, Michigan 48128

Abstract

In this paper we discuss the effect of computer-based information processing on the adaptability of the systems. Because of the close relationship that exists between subsystem independence and adaptability, the effect that the structure of computer-based information processing has on the degree of independence between the subsystems of the system that makes use of computer-based information processing (referred to here also as the host system) is central to our discussion. We are focusing here on complex systems that are controlled and operated by humans with the help of computer-based information systems and that face an uncertain environment. This type of systems includes organizations, complex projects, and complex processes and devices controlled by humans with the help of computers. The view of information processing as an aspect of the dynamics of systems (Kampfner, 1998) is also central to our discussion. An important advantage of this view is that it allows us to study the relationship of information processing with other aspects of the dynamics in which it occurs. This in turn gives us the potential to understand the role that information processing plays in practically any particular kind of natural and artificial systems.

Three closely related, but distinct types of interdependence between the subsystems of a system can be distinguished. The first one is the interdependence between the computer-based information system, itself a subsystem of the system it supports (referred to here as the main system) and the other subsystems of the main system. The second type of interdependence is the one that exists among the other subsystems of the main system. The third type of interdependence is between the components of the computer-based information system. These three types of interdependence between the subsystems of a system are clearly closely interrelated. Each of these types of interdependence has characteristics that distinguish it from the other types. The first type of interdependence is characterized by the combination and the interaction of human and computer-based information processing.

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