There are no metrics today which can accurately assess the reliability of large-scale information systems either before or after deployment. In this program, we will contribute to the development of the theoretical foundations needed for the emergence of a true measurement science for complex information systems.
According to the National Research Council report Network Science (2006),
"[Despite] society's profound dependence on networks, fundamental knowledge about them is primitive. [G]lobal communication ... networks have quite advanced technological implementations but their behavior under stress still cannot be predicted reliably.... There is no science today that offers the fundamental knowledge necessary to design large complex networks [so] that their behaviors can be predicted prior to building them."
As a result, such systems are highly vulnerable to instabilities and failure resulting either as an inherent function of their design, or as a response to unexpected external stimulus (e.g. attack).
There is a long history of scientific theories and mathematical models which enables a fundamental understanding of physical systems. Such understanding is a prerequisite for the development of a true measurement science. In contract, computing technology, while quite sophisticated, is at a much less mature stage. Hence, the mathematical foundations necessary for the development of a rigorous measurement science for information systems remain very weak. We intend to develop a research focus within ITL which seeks to develop the mathematical foundations which can ultimately provide a sound basis for the measurement science work of ITL.
Goal. We seek to develop mathematical models, techniques, and tools which facilitate fundamental understanding of information systems. In particular, we seek to
Expected Impact. Increased understanding of mathematical foundations will lead to metrics for assessing critical properties of information systems. Ultimately, such metrics can be used both to design more reliable and secure systems, as well as to enable effective real-time control of deployed systems.
Most of the work associated with this effort takes place under the aegis of the following ITL Programs: Complex Systems, Trustworthy Information Systems