Qualitative definitions of resilience are abundant in the literature, which says resilience is the ability to resist stress and recover from faults. Essentially, a resilient object is like the timepiece that "takes a licking and keeps on ticking." However, a more rigorous definition is needed for purposes of measuring and protecting critical assets, such as a nation's infrastructure. If we cannot quantify it, how do we know if we have enough?
When my garaged automobile fails to start in the morning, it is of little consequence to anyone but me. However, if it stalls in the middle of a busy freeway, the consequences can be large. It risks tying up traffic and delaying perhaps thousands of commuters. My automobile becomes more important as a component of a (traffic) system. The traffic system's ability to deal with the stress of a stalled automobile is a kind of resilience. Thus, resilience is a property of a system.
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