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Chapter 7 - Ashby's Law

# Chapter 7 - Ashby's Law - Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety...

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Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety

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1. Basic concepts 2. Applications to Organizations
1. Basic concepts ) i a) Dynamic systems Systems regulate/control their output by responding to disturbances from the system’s external environment f i t l ithi th t from internal sources within the system Negative feedback A ti b t di t b h i kl th Average time between disturbances vs. how quickly the system responds to disturbances

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b) P f l ti b) Process of regulation Example: “a” is the desired output (i.e., goal) • For every disturbance (D) the system must generate a response For every disturbance (D), the system must generate a response (R) to maintain “a” as the output R x y z 1 b a c D 2 a c b 3 c b a R x y 1 b a D 2 a c 3 b c
c) Variety – The number of possible states of a system (and their The number of possible states of a system (and their relative probabilities)

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d) Law of requisite variety “Only variety can destroy variety” (destroy = absorb, cope with, etc.) Requisite Variety Variety of responses required by system to destroy (cope with) Variety of responses required by system to destroy (cope with) incoming disturbance variety Minimum amount of variety that must be generated by system to control for a desired outcome, given all sources of disturbance variety E.g., Game of chess E E il filt i E.g., E-mail spam filtering
) Th ti l l ti b t i t & t i t e) Theoretical relation between variety & uncertainty Both deal with the amount of complexity and change encountered by a system Both are based on mathematical “Information Theory” (Norbert Weiner, Claude Shannon) Uncertainty is a measure of the amount of information needed to know the state of a system precisely • Uncertainty is proportional to the variety of the system Uncertainty is proportional to the variety of the system Alternatively: Variety is proportional to the amount of information required to eliminate uncertainty

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Chapter 7 - Ashby's Law - Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety...

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