Traditional engineering design practice seeks to create reliable systems that maintain a desired minimum performance when subjected to a defined set of impulses. To manage impulses, designers implement techniques to specify systems that are resilient or robust to impulses. Resilient systems perform with degraded capacity when subjected to impulses while robust systems remain unaffected by impulses. In this paper we examine antifragility, a complement to resilience and robustness, to manage the impulse response of complex cyber systems. Where fragile systems fracture when subjected to impulses, antifragile systems become stronger. We discuss why this strengthening characteristic makes antifragility attractive for managing impulse response in complex cyber systems and develop a measure for antifragility that differentiates it from fragility, resiliency and robustness. We then discuss an antifragile cyber system to demonstrate the benefits of antifragility in an impulse-rich environment.

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