Recent advances in early stage failure analysis approaches have introduced behavioral network analysis (BNA), which applies a network-based model of a complex engineered system to detect the system-level effect of ‘local’ failures of design variables and parameters. Previous work has shown that changes in microscale network metrics can signify system-level performance degradation. This article introduces a new insight into the influence of the community structure of the behavioral network on the failure tolerance of the system through the role of bridging nodes. Bridging nodes connect a community of nodes in a system to one or more nodes or communities outside of the community. In a study of forty systems, it is found that bridging nodes, under attack, are associated with significantly larger system-level behavioral degradation than non-bridging nodes. This finding indicates that the modularity of the behavioral network could be key to understanding the failure tolerance of the system and that parameters associated with bridging nodes between modules could play a vital role in system degradation.
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