Emergent system properties – Functional & Non-functional Properties | Software Engineering

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functional and non-functional emergent propertiesFunctional and Non-functional type of emergent system properties,
Software Engineering Notes | Sixth Semester,
BSc.CSIT | Tribhuvan University (TU)

Emergent system properties:
Emergent system properties are properties of the system as a whole rather than properties that can be derived from the properties of components of a system. Emergent properties are a consequence of the relationships between system components. They can therefore only be assessed and measured once the components have been integrated into a system.

Types of emergent property

  • Functional emergent properties
    These appear when all the parts of a system work together to achieve some objective. For example, a bicycle has the functional property of being a transportation device once it has been assembled from its components.
  • Non-functional emergent properties
    Examples are reliability, performance, safety, and security. These relate to the behaviour of the system in its operational environment. They are often critical for computer-based systems as failure to achieve some minimal defined level in these properties may make the system unusable

Examples of emergent properties

  • The volume of the system
    The volume (total space occupied) varies depending on how the component assemblies are arranged and connected.
  • The reliability of the system
    This depends on the reliability of system components and the relationships between the components but unexpected interactions can cause new types of failure and affect the reliability of the system.
  • The Security of the system
    The ability to resist attack means security. It is a complex property that cannot be easily measured.
  • The Repairability of the system
    This property reflects how easy it is to fix a problem with the system once it has been discovered. It depends on being able to diagnose the problem, access components that are faulty and modify or replace these components.
  • The usability of a system
    This property reflects how easy it is to use the system which is not simply dependent on the system hardware and software but also depends on the system operators and the environment where it is used.
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