System, Analysis of systems

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Summary

A system is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole or a set of elements (often called 'components' ) and relationships which are different from relationships of the set or its elements to other elements or sets.

Details

Evidently, there are many types of systems that can be analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. For example, with an analysis of urban systems dynamics, [A.W. Steiss] defines five intersecting systems, including the physical subsystem and behavioral system. For sociological models influenced by systems theory, where Kenneth D. Bailey defines systems in terms of conceptual, concrete and abstract systems; either isolated, closed, or open, Walter F. Buckley defines social systems in sociology in terms of mechanical, organic, and process models. Bela H. Banathy cautions that with any inquiry into a system that understanding the type of system is crucial and defines Natural and Designed systems.

Systems that are purposed by man inherently have a major flaw they must have a starting assumption(s) in which this starting assumption(s) is used to build further knowledge upon. This starting assumption(s) is not inherently bad, but it is used as the foundation of the system and as it is assumed to be true, and not definitively so then the system is not as structurally sound as perceived to be. For example in Geometry (a subsystem of Math) this is highly evident when one goes through the process of taking theorems and extrapolates proofs from those set theorems.

In offering these more global definitions, the author maintains that it is important not to confuse one for the other. The theorist explains that natural systems include sub-atomic systems, living systems, the solar system, the galactic system and the Universe. Designed systems are our creations, our physical structures, hybrid systems which include natural and designed systems, and our conceptual knowledge. The human element of organization and activities are emphasized with their relevant abstract systems and representations. A key consideration in making distinctions among various types of systems is to determine how much freedom the system has to select purpose, goals, methods, tools, etc. and how widely is the freedom to select itself distributed (or concentrated) in the system.

George J. Klir maintains that no "classification is complete and perfect for all purposes," and defines systems in terms of abstract, real, and conceptual physical systems, bounded and unbounded systems, discrete to continuous, pulse to hybrid systems, etc. The interaction between systems and their environments are categorized in terms of 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 us. Important distinctions have also been made between hard and soft systems. Hard systems are associated with areas such as systems engineering, operations research and quantitative systems analysis. Soft systems are commonly associated with concepts developed by Peter Checkland and Brian Wilson through Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) involving methods such as action research and emphasizing participatory designs. Where hard systems might be identified as more "scientific," the distinction between them is actually often hard to define.

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External Links

  • WikipediaDefinitions of Systems and ModelsPublications with the title "System" (1600–2008)Definitionen von "System" (1572–2002)

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