Optimal modularity: a demonstration of the evolutionary advantage of modular architectures
Modularity is an important concept in evolutionary theorizing but lack of a consistent definition renders study difficult. Using the generalized 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 minimizes the time required to globally optimize 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. Copyright The Author(s) 2012
Volume (Year): 22 (2012)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.springer.com|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/191/PS2|
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.:
- Daniel A. Levinthal, 1997. "Adaptation on Rugged Landscapes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(7), pages 934-950, July.
- Page, Scott E, 1996. "Two Measures of Difficulty," Economic Theory, Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 8(2), pages 321-46, August.
- 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.
- 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, June.
- Sendil K. Ethiraj & Daniel Levinthal, 2004. "Modularity and Innovation in Complex Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(2), pages 159-173, February.
- Marengo, Luigi, et al, 2000.
"The Structure of Problem-Solving Knowledge and the Structure of Organizations,"
Industrial and Corporate Change,
Oxford University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 757-88, December.
- 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.
- Richard N. Langlois & Giampaolo Garzarelli, 2008.
"Of Hackers and Hairdressers: Modularity and the Organizational Economics of Open-source Collaboration,"
2008-53, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Jan W. Rivkin & Nicolaj Siggelkow, 2007. "Patterned Interactions in Complex Systems: Implications for Exploration," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(7), pages 1068-1085, July.
- 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.
- Arthur, W. Brian, 2007. "The structure of invention," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 274-287, March.
- Scott E. Page, 1996. "Two measures of difficulty (*)," Economic Theory, Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 8(2), pages 321-346.
- 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.
- Marengo, Luigi & Dosi, Giovanni, 2005.
"Division of labor, organizational coordination and market mechanisms in collective problem-solving,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 303-326, October.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:22:y:2012:i:5:p:935-956. 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: (Sonal Shukla)or (Rebekah McClure)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.