Today I learned of the passing of Dr. Richard I. Cook. As I mentioned in my previous post he is the author of “How Complex Systems Fail” which is, I believe, one of the most important documents on complex systems ever written. If you run any type of system that is in production or is relied upon by people in a significant way, this document should be studied and well understood.
6 Catastrophe is always just around the corner. Complex systems possess potential for catastrophic failure. Human practitioners are nearly always in close physical and temporal proximity to these potential failures – disaster can occur at any time and in nearly any place. The potential for catastrophic outcome is a hallmark of complex systems. It is impossible to eliminate the potential for such catastrophic failure; the potential for such failure is always present by the system’s own nature.