Analyzing Design Tradeoffs in Large-scale Socio-Technical Systems through Simulation of Dynamic Collaboration Patterns

Dorn C., Edwards G., Medvidovic N., (2012) Analyzing Design Tradeoffs in Large-scale Socio-Technical Systems through Simulation of Dynamic Collaboration Patterns, In Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on
Cooperative Information Systems (CoopIS 2012), Sep., 2012, Rome, Italy.

Supporting Online Material available on this blog.

Abstract: Emerging online collaboration platforms such as Wikipedia, Twitter, or Facebook provide the foundation for socio-technical systems where humans have become both content consumer and provider. Existing software engineering tools and techniques support the system engineer in designing and assessing the technical infrastructure. Little research, however, addresses the engineer’s need for understanding the overall socio-technical system behavior. The effect of fundamental design decisions becomes quickly unpredictable as multiple collaboration patterns become integrated into a single system.

We propose the simulation of human and software elements at the collaboration level. We aim for detecting and evaluating undesirable system behavior such as users experiencing repeated update conflicts or software components becoming overloaded. To this end, this paper contributes (i) a language and (ii) methodology for specifying and simulating large-scale collaboration structures, (iii) example individual and aggregated pattern simulations, and (iv) evaluation of the overall approach.

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