System Architecture, Level of Decomposition, and Structural Complexity: Analysis and Observations

GwangKi Min, Eun Suk Suh*, Katja Hölttä-Otto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


As a result of technological advance and ever-increasing stakeholder expectations, today's engineering systems are becoming entities of a complex nature. Therefore, understanding and managing the complexity of such systems are becoming increasingly important, in particular during the early stages of the system development process, such as conceptual and preliminary design. In this paper, an analysis to measure the structural complexity of a system is presented. Systems with different architectural configurations (integral, linear-modular, and bus-modular) were analyzed at various levels of system decomposition. The results show that the structural complexity of a system depends largely on the architectural configurations at the lowest level of system decomposition. The sensitivities of each architectural configuration (due to the addition of more connections) were different. A real-life complex system was observed from the architectural configuration and structural complexity point of view.

Original languageEnglish
Article number021102
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed




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