Interconnectivity is a concept that is used in numerous fields such as cybernetics
Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to information theory, control theory and systems theory, at least in its first-order form...

, biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

, network theory
Network theory
Network theory is an area of computer science and network science and part of graph theory. It has application in many disciplines including statistical physics, particle physics, computer science, biology, economics, operations research, and sociology...

, and non-linear dynamics. The concept can be summarized as that all parts of a system interact with
Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, as opposed to a one-way causal effect...

 and rely on one another simply by the fact that they occupy the same system, and that a system is difficult or sometimes impossible to analyze through its individual parts considered alone. The concept is closely linked to the Observer effect
Observer effect
Observer effect may refer to:* Observer effect , the impact of observing a process while it is running* Observer effect , the impact of observing a physical system...

 and the butterfly effect
Butterfly effect
In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions; where a small change at one place in a nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state...

. It is often linked to the concepts of interconnectedness which is used to refer to the spiritual, and interdependence
Interdependence is a relation between its members such that each is mutually dependent on the others. This concept differs from a simple dependence relation, which implies that one member of the relationship can function or survive apart from the other....

 which refers to the moral, rather than physical or scientific.


  • A gear alone is useless, and tells little about the machine it came from. A cabinet full of gears, however, can run a clock, and the way these parts are assembled is the clock. The clock is the interconnection of its gears. Remove or damage one gear, and the entire clock is damaged.

  • It also refers to the topology of a network and describes in detail its characteristics as well as links in the network.

  • Another example is an ecosystem. All inhabitants of an ecosystem play a part in maintaining that ecosystem, and a fragile equilibrium
    Homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition of properties like temperature or pH...

     is formed. Any event that affects one part of the ecosystem affects the entire ecosystem. An event that removes a seemingly unimportant species can alter an ecosystem. If a fire
    Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition....

     burns all of the grass from a field, the predators will starve or leave, because the herbivores will starve or leave in the absence of grass
    Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...


  • The occasional inter-state blackouts in the Northeastern United States over the past few decades are an example of interconnectivity gone wrong. A single line or transformer failure caused the entire system to fail in almost every case. Because the surrounding lines were unable to assume the additional load, the entire system failed.

Differentiation from the butterfly effect

The key difference between interconnectivity and the butterfly effect is that while the butterfly effect deals with chain reactions and events, interconnectivity deals with systems in dynamic equilibrium, such as ecosystems, economies, societies, etc. While the two are often substituted incorrectly for one another, they are two similar but separate concepts.
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