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International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2006)

Structure and Dynamics of Multiple Agents in Homeland Security Risk Management

Gary Nelson
Homeland Security Institute

     Full text: PDF
     Last modified: August 3, 2006

Homeland security risk-management invokes problems at the extremes of uncertainty and resource allocation. The use of probabilistic decision making and the market (including actuarial indemnification) are inadequate. But there is also an evident evolutionary approach to the problem, since every complex system we see is a successful competitor for limited resources under a large spectrum of contingencies. It is vital to discern the structural and dynamical principles of such evolutionary systems, extended from the strict biological process to human organizations and artifacts. The extension to risk management must focus on the logical, information-based, organization of multiple agents (decision makers) prospectively dealing with risk. There are many organizations (e.g., air traffic management) that embody continuous, hierarchically-scaled, risk management. Organizations intuitively adopt evolutionary structure, but there are many pathologies—both structural and dynamical—of organizational design. The opportunity exists to apply recent technologies of artificial-agent ecologies and open-communication systems in hybrid human/artificial risk-management systems. This application needs a formal understanding of the structure and dynamics of complex-adaptive systems (CAS) to avoid the human- organizational pathologies before we extend them to the hybrid systems. This paper: 1) Summarizes the structural and dynamic principles of CAS in risk-management terms; 2) Examines “resilience” as the descriptor of risk-managing CAS, and; 3) Applies hybrid human/artificial multi-agent systems (MAS) in a risk-managing, resilient, network.

Complex Adaptive Systems, Multi-Agent Systems, Resilience, Risk Management, Homeland Security

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