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Can cyber‐physical systems reliably collaborate within a blockchain?

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A.F. Lier,van, | Article | Publication date: 10 October 2017
A blockchain can be considered a technological phenomenon that is made up of different interconnected and autonomous systems. Such systems are referred to here as cyber‐physical systems: complex interconnections of cyber and physical components. When cyber‐physical systems are interconnected, a new whole consisting of a system of systems is created by the autonomous systems and their intercommunication and interaction. In a blockchain, individual systems can independently make decisions on joint information transactions. The decision‐making procedures needed for this are executed based on fault‐tolerant communication and voting and consensus procedures, while the results of these decision‐making procedures are stored in distributed ledgers. Due to the intercommunication, interaction, and independent decision making by autonomous systems, the new whole of a blockchain is a complex entity. Complexity science rather than the usual reductionist scientific approach can help us better understand the behaviour of the new and continuously developing whole of a blockchain as a technological phenomenon.

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