Highly optimized tolerance (HOT) was recently introduced as a conceptual framework to study fundamental aspects of complexity. HOT is motivated primarily by systems from biology and engineering and emphasizes, (i) highly structured, nongeneric, self-dissimilar internal configurations, and (ii) robust yet fragile external behavior. HOT claims these are the most important features of complexity and not accidents of evolution or artifices of engineering design but are inevitably intertwined and mutually reinforcing. In the spirit of this collection, our paper contrasts HOT with alternative perspectives on complexity, drawing on real-world examples and also model systems, particularly those from self-organized criticality.
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