Portal:Systems science

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The systems science portal

Impression of systems thinking about society

Systems science is an interdisciplinary field that studies the nature of systems—from simple to complex—in nature, society, cognition, engineering, technology and science itself. To systems scientists, the world can be understood as a system of systems. The field aims to develop interdisciplinary foundations that are applicable in a variety of areas, such as psychology, biology, medicine, communication, business management, engineering, and social sciences.

Systems science covers formal sciences such as complex systems, cybernetics, dynamical systems theory, information theory, linguistics or systems theory. It has applications in the field of the natural and social sciences and engineering, such as control theory, operations research, social systems theory, systems biology, system dynamics, human factors, systems ecology, systems engineering and systems psychology. Themes commonly stressed in system science are (a) holistic view, (b) interaction between a system and its embedding environment, and (c) complex (often subtle) trajectories of dynamic behavior that sometimes are stable (and thus reinforcing), while at various 'boundary conditions' can become wildly unstable (and thus destructive). Concerns about Earth-scale biosphere/geosphere dynamics is an example of the nature of problems to which systems science seeks to contribute meaningful insights.

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Systems engineering application projects collage.jpg

Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering, that focuses on the development and organization of complex artificial systems. Systems engineering is defined by INCOSE as "a branch of engineering whose responsibility is creating and executing an interdisciplinary process to ensure that customer and stakeholder's needs are satisfied in a high quality, trustworthy, cost efficient and schedule compliant manner throughout a system's entire life cycle, from development to operation to disposal. This process is usually comprised of the following seven tasks: State the problem, Investigate alternatives, Model the system, Integrate, Launch the system, Assess performance, and Re-evaluate. The systems engineering process is not sequential: the tasks are performed in a parallel and iterative manner."

Systems engineering techniques are used in complex projects: from spacecraft to chip design, from robotics to creating large software products to building bridges, Systems engineering uses a host of tools that include modeling & simulation, requirements analysis, and scheduling to manage complexity.

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This image illustrates part of the Mandelbrot set fractal. The size of the JPEG file encoding the bitmap of this image is more than 17 kilobytes (approximately 140000 bits). The same file can be generated by a computer program much shorter than 140000 bits, however. Thus, the Kolmogorov complexity of the JPEG file encoding the bitmap is much less than 140000.

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George Jiri Klir (born 1932 Prague, Czechoslovakia) is a Czech-American computer scientist and professor of systems sciences at the Center for Intelligent Systems at the State University of New York at Binghamton, New York.

George Klir is known for path-breaking research over almost four decades. His earlier work was in the areas of systems modeling and simulation, logic design, computer architecture, and discrete mathematics. More current research since the 1990s include the areas of intelligent systems, generalized information theory, fuzzy set theory and fuzzy logic, theory of generalized measures, and soft computing.


Did you know

  • ...that a successful experimental system must be stable and reproducible enough for scientists to make sense of the system's behavior, but unpredictable enough that it can produce useful results?
  • ... that the American systems scientist John Nelson Warfield found systems science to consist of a hierarchy of sciences.
    • Beginning at the base, with a science of description,
    • continuing vertically with a science of design,
    • then a science of complexity,
    • and next a science of action, called "Interactive management".



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