Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Optimal modularity: A demonstration of the evolutionary advantage of modular architectures

Contents:

Author Info

  • Koen Frenken

    ()

  • Stefan Mendritzki

Abstract

Modularity is an important concept in evolutionary theorizing but lack of a consistent definition renders study difficult. Using the generalised NK-model of fitness landscapes, we differentiate modularity from decomposability. Modular and decomposable systems are both composed of subsystems but in the former these subsystems are connected via interface standards while in the latter subsystems are completely isolated. We derive the optimal level of modularity, which minimises the time required to globally optimise a system, both for the case of two-layered systems and for the general case of multi-layered hierarchical systems containing modules within modules. This derivation supports the hypothesis of modularity as a mechanism to increase the speed of evolution. Our formal definition clarifies the concept of modularity and provides a framework and an analytical baseline for further research.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://cms.tm.tue.nl/Ecis/Files/papers/wp2011/wp1103.pdf
File Function: Version August 2010
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) in its series Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series with number 11-03.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision: Jun 2011
Handle: RePEc:dgr:tuecis:wpaper:1103

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://ecis.ieis.tue.nl/

Related research

Keywords: Modularity; Decomposability; Near-decomposability; Complexity; NK-model; Search; hierarchy;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Stefano Brusoni & Luigi Marengo & Andrea Prencipe & Marco Valente, 2004. "The Value and Costs of Modularity: A Cognitive Perspective," SPRU Working Paper Series 123, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  2. Luigi Marengo & Giovanni Dosi & Paolo Legrenzi & Corrado Pasquali, 1999. "The structure of problem-solving knowledge and the structure of organisations," LEM Papers Series 1999/09, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  3. Daniel A. Levinthal, 1997. "Adaptation on Rugged Landscapes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(7), pages 934-950, July.
  4. Sylvie Geisendorf, 2010. "Searching NK Fitness Landscapes: On the Trade Off Between Speed and Quality in Complex Problem Solving," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 35(4), pages 395-406, April.
  5. Carliss Y. Baldwin, 2008. "Where do transactions come from? Modularity, transactions, and the boundaries of firms," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 155-195, February.
  6. Sendil K. Ethiraj & Daniel Levinthal, 2004. "Modularity and Innovation in Complex Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(2), pages 159-173, February.
  7. Tommaso Ciarli & Riccardo Leoncini & Sandro Montresor & Marco Valente, 2008. "Technological change and the vertical organization of industries," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 367-387, August.
  8. Luigi Marengo & Giovanni Dosi, 2003. "Division of Labor, Organizational Coordination and Market Mechanism in Collective Problem-Solving," LEM Papers Series 2003/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  9. Koen Frenken & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2004. "The early development of the steam engine: an evolutionary interpretation using complexity theory," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 419-450, April.
  10. Carliss Y. Baldwin & Kim B. Clark, 2000. "Design Rules, Volume 1: The Power of Modularity," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262024667, December.
  11. Richard Langlois & Giampaolo Garzarelli, 2008. "Of Hackers and Hairdressers: Modularity and the Organizational Economics of Open-source Collaboration," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 125-143.
  12. Scott E. Page, 1996. "Two measures of difficulty (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 321-346.
  13. Arthur, W. Brian, 2007. "The structure of invention," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 274-287, March.
  14. Herbert A. Simon, 2002. "Near decomposability and the speed of evolution," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 587-599, June.
  15. Page, Scott E, 1996. "Two Measures of Difficulty," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 321-46, August.
  16. Jan W. Rivkin & Nicolaj Siggelkow, 2007. "Patterned Interactions in Complex Systems: Implications for Exploration," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(7), pages 1068-1085, July.
  17. Koen Frenken & Luigi Marengo & Marco Valente, 1999. "Interdependencies, nearly-decomposability and adaption," CEEL Working Papers 9903, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  18. Frenken, Koen, 2006. "A fitness landscape approach to technological complexity, modularity, and vertical disintegration," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 288-305, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dgr:tuecis:wpaper:1103. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Carolina Castaldi).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.