A system is a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming an integrated whole. Every system is delineated by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose and expressed in its functioning.
1 Etymology 2 History 3 Concepts
4.1 Cultural system 4.2 Economic system
5 Application of the system concept
5.1 In information and computer science 5.2 In engineering and physics 5.3 In social and cognitive sciences and management research 5.4 Pure logical systems 5.5 Applied to strategic thinking
6 See also 7 References 8 Bibliography 9 External links
The term "system" comes from the
"System" means "something to look at". You must have a very high visual gradient to have systematization. But in philosophy, prior to Descartes, there was no "system". Plato had no "system". Aristotle had no "system".
In the 19th century the French physicist Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot,
who studied thermodynamics, pioneered the development of the concept
of a "system" in the natural sciences. In 1824 he studied the system
which he called the working substance (typically a body of water
vapor) in steam engines, in regards to the system's ability to do work
when heat is applied to it. The working substance could be put in
contact with either a boiler, a cold reservoir (a stream of cold
water), or a piston (to which the working body could do work by
pushing on it). In 1850, the German physicist Rudolf Clausius
generalized this picture to include the concept of the surroundings
and began to use the term "working body" when referring to the system.
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Environment and boundaries Systems theory views the world as a complex system of interconnected parts. One scopes a system by defining its boundary; this means choosing which entities are inside the system and which are outside—part of the environment. One can make simplified representations (models) of the system in order to understand it and to predict or impact its future behavior. These models may define the structure and behavior of the system.
Natural and human-made systems There are natural and human-made (designed) systems. Natural systems may not have an apparent objective but their behavior can be interpreted[by whom?] as purposeful by an observer. Human-made systems are made to satisfy an identified and stated need with purposes that are achieved by the delivery of wanted outputs. Their parts must be related; they must be "designed to work as a coherent entity"—otherwise they would be two or more distinct systems.
Open systems have input and output flows, representing exchanges of matter, energy or information with their surroundings.
Theoretical framework Most systems are open systems, exchanging matter and energy with its surroundings; like a car, a coffeemaker, or a computer. A closed system exchanges energy, but not matter, with its environment; like Earth or the project Biosphere 2. An isolated system exchanges neither matter nor energy with its environment. A theoretical example of such system is the Universe.
Process and transformation process An open system can also be viewed as a bounded transformation process, that is, a black box that is a process or collection of processes that transforms inputs into outputs. Inputs are consumed; outputs are produced. The concept of input and output here is very broad. For example, an output of a passenger ship is the movement of people from departure to destination.
Systems architecture A systems architecture, using one single integrated model for the description of multiple views, is a kind of system model.
A subsystem is a set of elements, which is a system itself, and a
component of a larger system.
A subsystem description is a system object that contains information
defining the characteristics of an operating environment controlled by
Evidently, there are many kinds of systems that can be analyzed both
quantitatively and qualitatively. For example, in an analysis of urban
systems dynamics, A .W. Steiss defined five intersecting systems,
including the physical subsystem and behavioral system. For
sociological models influenced by systems theory, where Kenneth D.
Bailey defined systems in terms of conceptual, concrete, and
abstract systems, either isolated, closed, or open. Walter F.
Buckley defined systems in sociology in terms of mechanical,
organic, and process models. Bela H. Banathy cautioned that for
any inquiry into a system understanding its kind is crucial, and
defined "natural" and "designed", i. e. artificial, systems.
Artificial systems inherently have a major defect: they must be
premised on one or more fundamental assumptions upon which additional
knowledge is built. These fundamental assumptions are not inherently
deleterious, but they must by definition be assumed as true, and if
they are actually false then the system is not as structurally
integral as is assumed. For example, in geometry this is very evident
in the postulation of theorems and extrapolation of proofs from them.
It is important not to confuse these abstract definitions. Theorists
include in natural systems subatomic systems, living systems, the
solar system, galaxies, and the Universe. Artificial systems include
our physical structures, hybrids of natural and artificial systems,
and conceptual knowledge. The human elements of organization and
functions are emphasized with their relevant abstract systems and
representations. A cardinal consideration in making distinctions among
systems is to determine how much freedom the system has to select its
purpose, goals, methods, tools, etc. and how wide is the freedom to
select itself as distributed or concentrated.
George J. Klir maintained that no "classification is complete and
perfect for all purposes", and defined systems as abstract, real, and
conceptual physical systems, bounded and unbounded systems, discrete
to continuous, pulse to hybrid systems, etc. The interactions between
systems and their environments are categorized as relatively closed
and open systems. It seems most unlikely that an absolutely closed
system can exist or, if it did, that it could be known by man.
Important distinctions have also been made between hard systems
– technical in nature and amenable to methods such as systems
engineering, operations research, and quantitative systems analysis
– and soft systems that involve people and organisations, commonly
associated with concepts developed by
Peter Checkland and Brian Wilson
through Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) involving methods such as
action research and emphasis of participatory designs. Where hard
systems might be identified as more "scientific", the distinction
between them is often elusive.
A cultural system may be defined as the interaction of different
elements of culture. While a cultural system is quite different from a
social system, sometimes both together are referred to as a
"sociocultural system". A major concern of the social sciences is the
problem of order.
Main article: Economic system
An economic system is a mechanism (social institution) which deals
with the production, distribution and consumption of goods and
services in a particular society. The economic system is composed of
people, institutions and their relationships to resources, such as the
convention of property. It addresses the problems of economics, like
the allocation and scarcity of resources.
Application of the system concept
Examples of systems
List of systems (WikiProject) Physical system Conceptual system Complex system Formal system
Information system Meta-system Solar System Systems in human anatomy Market Thermodynamic systems
Glossary of systems theory Complexity theory and organizations Black box System of systems (engineering) Systems art
^ "Definition of system". Merriam-Webster. Springfield, MA, USA.
^ "σύστημα", Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A
Greek–English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library.
Alexander Backlund (2000). "The definition of system". In: Kybernetes
Vol. 29 nr. 4, pp. 444–451.
Kenneth D. Bailey (1994). Sociology and the New Systems Theory: Toward
a Theoretical Synthesis. New York: State of New York Press.
Bela H. Banathy
Look up system in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: System
Definitions of Systems and Models by Michael Pidwirny, 1999–2007. Publications with the title "System" (1600–2008) by Roland Müller. Definitionen von "System" (1572–2002) by Roland Müller, (most in German).
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