Modularity, a semi-technical discussion

Modularity is the concept of building a complex product from smaller simpler subsystems.

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Dona M Loshy

March 24, 2023
min read

Modularity is the concept of building a complex product from smaller simpler subsystems.

Technical definition and background

The degree to which a system's tightly coupled compartments can be broken up into independent communities or clusters that interact more with one another than with other communities is measured by the system attribute known as modularity. These autonomous communities, also known as modules, should be cohesive and serve a single, well-defined purpose.

The concept of modularity has dominated the philosophy of psychology since the release of Fodor's seminal book “The Modularity of Mind” in the early 1980s. The idea of modularity first emerged decades ago as researchers pondered how populations might quickly adapt to novel settings, a quality known as evolvability. Many theories have come to the conclusion that modularity allows for evolvability. One of the main theories explains why networks evolve only through performance-based selection leads to non-modular, slow-to-adapt networks. The addition of a selective pressure to cut connection costs makes it easier to create modular networks that swiftly adapt to new environments.. Human engineers are fully aware of this fact, which is why modular systems appear to be more adaptable since it is simpler to rewire a modular network with functional parts than an entangled, monolithic network.

Industry adoption

The computer industry is in a leading position, their extra ordinary advancement is based on modularity. The computer industry's rate of innovation has significantly boosted because to the widespread use of modular designs. Modularity in production processes has long existed in several industries. For instance, automakers frequently produce the individual parts of a car at various locations before bringing them all together for final assembly. Also, modularity enables customers to combine and match components to create a final product that satisfies their preferences and requirements. For instance, users frequently purchase bed frames, mattresses, pillows, linens, and coverings from various manufacturers and even merchants in order to create a bed. Due to the usage of standard sizing by the various manufacturers, they all fit together. However, an increasing number of them are prepared to include modularity into the design process. The latest has been the construction industry.

Modular construction

Modular construction is a process where a building is produced using standardized components in an offsite controlled environment, then assembled on site. In order to quickly and affordably address the user's needs, it repeatedly arranges a module, often prefabricated as a base piece to develop a fully developed design.


The Nakagin Capsule Tower, MY MICRO NY, which influences the micro-living style, and the Makoko floating school, where we could see the proposal of a light triangle-based floating structure, are some of the distinctive modular buildings.

When a module is structurally stable on its own, the assembly of multiple modules can bring in new possibilities. These modules can create many unique floor plans to suit your property and needs out of the same pre-engineered set of parts.

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