Systems science is an interdisciplinary field that studies the nature of complex systems in nature, society, and science itself. It aims to develop interdisciplinary foundations that are applicable in a variety of areas, such as engineering, biology, medicine, and social sciences.
Systems science covers formal sciences such as complex systems, cybernetics, dynamical systems theory, and systems theory, and applications in the field of the natural and social sciences and engineering, such as control theory, operations research, social systems theory, systems biology, systems dynamics, systems ecology, systems engineering and systems psychology.
- Systems analysis
- Systems analysis is the branch of systems science that analyzes systems and the interactions within those systems, often prior to their automation as computer models. This field is closely related to operations research.
- Systems design
- In computing, systems design is the process or art of defining the hardware and software architecture, components, modules, interfaces, and data for a computer system to satisfy specified requirements. One could see it as the application of systems theory to computing. Some overlap with the discipline of systems analysis appears inevitable.
- System dynamics
- System dynamics is an approach to understanding the behavior of complex systems over time. It deals with internal feedback loops and time delays that affect the behavior of the entire system. What makes using system dynamics different from other approaches to studying complex systems is the use of feedback loops and stocks and flows. These elements help describe how even seemingly simple systems display baffling nonlinearity.
- Systems engineering
- Systems engineering (SE) is an interdisciplinary field of engineering, that focuses on the development and organization of complex systems, for example signal processing systems, control systems and communication system and other forms of high-level modelling and design in electrical engineering and computer engineering.
- Systems Methodologies
- There are several types of Systems Methodologies, that is, disciplines for analysis of systems. For example:
- Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) : in the field of organizational studies is an approach to organisational process modelling, and it can be used both for general problem solving and in the management of change. It was developed in England by academics at the University of Lancaster Systems Department through a ten-year Action Research programme.
- System Development Methodology (SDM) in the field of IT development is a general term applied to a variety of structured, organized processes for developing information technology and embedded software systems.
- Viable systems approach (vSa) is a methodology useful for the understanding and governance of complex phenomena; it has been successfully proposed in the field of management, decision making, marketing and service.
- Systems theories
- Systems theory is an interdisciplinary field that studies complex systems in nature, society, and science. More specifically, it is a conceptual framework by which one can analyze and/or describe any group of objects that work in concert to produce some result.
- Systems science
- Systems sciences are scientific disciplines partly based on systems thinking such as chaos theory, complex systems, control theory, cybernetics, sociotechnical systems theory, systems biology, systems ecology, systems psychology and the already mentioned systems dynamics, systems engineering, and systems theory.
General systems scientists can be divided into different generations. The founders of the systems movement like Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Kenneth Boulding, Ralph Gerard, James Grier Miller, George J. Klir,and Anatol Rapoport were all born between 1900 and 1920. They all came from different natural and social science disciplines and joined forces in the 1950s to established the general systems theory paradigm. Along with the organization of their efforts a first generation of systems scientists rose.
Among them were other scientists like Ackoff, Ashby and Churchman, who popularized the systems concept in the 1950s and 1960s. These scientists inspired and educated a second generation with more notable scientist like Ervin Laszlo (1932) and Fritjof Capra (1939), who wrote about systems theory in the 1970s and 1980s. Others got acquainted and started studying these works in the 1980s and started writing about it since the 1990s. Debora Hammond can be seen as a typical representative of these third generation of general systems scientists.
The International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) is an organisation for interdisciplinary collaboration and synthesis of systems sciences. The ISSS is unique among systems-oriented institutions in terms of the breadth of its scope, bringing together scholars and practitioners from academic, business, government, and non-profit organizations. Based on fifty years of tremendous interdisciplinary research from the scientific study of complex systems to interactive approaches in management and community development. This society was initially conceived in 1954 at the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences by Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Kenneth Boulding, Ralph Gerard, and Anatol Rapoport.
In the field of systems science the International Federation for Systems Research (IFSR) is an international federation for global and local societies in the field of systems science. This federation is a non-profit, scientific and educational agency founded in 1981, and constituted of some thirty member organizations from various countries. The overall purpose of this Federation is to advance cybernetic and systems research and systems applications and to serve the international systems community.
The best known research institute in the field is the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States, dedicated to the study of complex systems. This institute was founded in 1984 by George Cowan, David Pines, Stirling Colgate, Murray Gell-Mann, Nick Metropolis, Herb Anderson, Peter A. Carruthers, and Richard Slansky. All but Pines and Gell-Mann were scientists with Los Alamos National Laboratory. SFI's original mission was to disseminate the notion of a separate interdisciplinary research area, complexity theory referred to at SFI as complexity science.
In India, the Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur has set up a Center of Excellence in Systems Science, offering a research as well as an academic platform for students at undergraduate, post graduate and doctoral levels.
- List of systems sciences organizations
- List of systems scientists
- Principia Cybernetica
- System engineering
- Systems theory
- Systems theory in archaeology
- Systems theory in anthropology
- Systems theory in political science
- World-systems theory
- System equivalence
- Illustration is made by Marcel Douwe Dekker (2007) based on an own standard and Pierre Malotaux (1985), "Constructieleer van de mensenlijke samenwerking", in BB5 Collegedictaat TU Delft, pp. 120-147.
- MIT System Dynamics in Education Project (SDEP)
- See for further details: List of systems engineering at universities
- B. A. Bayraktar, Education in Systems Science, 1979, 369 pp.
- Kenneth D. Bailey, "Fifty Years of Systems Science:Further Reflections", Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 22, 2005, pp. 355–361. doi:10.1002/sres.711
- Robert L. Flood, Ewart R Carson, Dealing with Complexity: An Introduction to the Theory and Application of Systems Science, 1988.
- George J. Klir, Facets of Systems Science, Plenum Press, 1991.
- Ervin László, Systems Science and World Order: Selected Studies, 1983.
- Anatol Rapoport (ed.), General Systems: Yearbook of the Society for the Advancement of General Systems Theory, Society for General Systems Research, Vol 1., 1956.
- Rugai, Nick, Computational Epistemology: From Reality to Wisdom, Second Edition, Book, 2013, Lulu Press, ISBN 978-1-300-47723-5
- Li D. Xu, "The contributions of Systems Science to Information Systems Research", Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 17, 2000, pp. 105–116.
- Graeme Donald Snooks, "A general theory of complex living systems: Exploring the demand side of dynamics", Complexity, vol. 13, no. 6, July/August 2008.
- John N. Warfield, "A proposal for Systems Science", Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 20, 2003, pp. 507–520. doi:10.1002/sres.528
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