Portal:Systems science

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The systems science portal

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Complex systems approach

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.


Selected article

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Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of complex systems, especially communication processes, control mechanisms and feedback principles. Cybernetics is closely related to control theory and systems theory.

Contemporary cybernetics began as an interdisciplinary study connecting the fields of control systems, electrical network theory, mechanical engineering, logic modeling, evolutionary biology and neuroscience in the 1940s. Other fields of study which have influenced or been influenced by cybernetics include game theory, system theory (a mathematical counterpart to cybernetics), psychology (especially neuropsychology, behavioral psychology, and cognitive psychology), and also philosophy, and even architecture.

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Turbulence in the tip vortex from an airplane wing. Studies of the critical point beyond which a system creates turbulence was important for Chaos theory, analyzed for example by the Soviet physicist Lev Landau who developed the Landau-Hopf theory of turbulence. David Ruelle and Floris Takens later predicted, against Landau, that fluid turbulence could develop through a strange attractor, a main concept of chaos theory.

Selected systems scientist

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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.

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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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