Cascading failure

Systemic risk of failure / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A cascading failure is a failure in a system of interconnected parts in which the failure of one or few parts leads to the failure of other parts, growing progressively as a result of positive feedback. This can occur when a single part fails, increasing the probability that other portions of the system fail.[1][2] Such a failure may happen in many types of systems, including power transmission, computer networking, finance, transportation systems, organisms, the human body, and ecosystems.

An animation demonstrating how a single failure may result in other failures throughout a network.

Cascading failures may occur when one part of the system fails. When this happens, other parts must then compensate for the failed component. This in turn overloads these nodes, causing them to fail as well, prompting additional nodes to fail one after another.