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SBE 2020: Submission Detail

ID Number: 277
Title: Epistemic Engineering
Lead Author: Koppl, Roger
Abstract: The epistemic understanding of complex systems is underdeveloped. The perspectives of engineering and design should be brought together with modern complexity theory to create epistemic engineering. Epistemic engineering is the study of the design principles of agent-based processes viewed from the perspective of their tendency to help or frustrate the production of local truth. Epistemic engineering has many different applications extending well beyond social systems with human agents, for example the stigmergic organization of an anthill, agent-based software systems, and multi-robot systems. Complex systems exhibit emergence and self-organization, which make it hard to apply traditional engineering concepts and methods. With the paradigm of complex engineered systems, however, performance characteristics emerge from the implemented system rather than existing in a fully specified form ex ante. This approach to engineering seeks opportunistic leveraging of the combinatorial explosion. Criteria such as optimality and stability are replaced by criteria such as robustness and versatility. Epistemic engineering can teach us how to gain from the vast knowledge potential of complex systems in spite of limits on prediction and control. It has transformative potential where large numbers of knowing agents respond in unexpected ways to dynamic environments, science policy, economic policy, robotic systems, and medicine.
PDF: Koppl_Roger_277.pdf

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