System, Elements of a system -an example

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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.


Following are considered as the elements of a system in terms of Information systems: –

  1. Input
  1. Output
  1. Processor
  1. Control
  1. Feedback
  1. Boundary and interface
  1. Environment

1.INPUT: Input involves capturing and assembling elements that enter the system to be processed. The inputs are said to be fed to the systems in order to get the output. For example, input of a 'computer system' is input unit consisting of various input devices like keyboard,mouse,joystick etc.

2.OUTPUT: Those elements that exists in the system due to the processing of the inputs is known as output. A major objective of a system is to produce output that has value to its user. The

output of the system maybe in the form of cash,information,knowledge,reports,documents etc.the system is defined as output is required from it. It is the anticipatory recognition of output that helps in defining the input of the system. For example, output of a 'computer system' is output unit consisting of various output devices like screen and printer etc.

3.PROCESSOR(S): The processor is the element of a system that involves the actual transformation of input into output. It is the operational component of a system. For example, processor of a 'computer system' is central processing unit that further consists of arithmetic and logic unit(ALU), control unit and memory unit etc.

4.CONTROL: The control element guides the system. It is the decision-making sub-system that controls the pattern of activities governing input,processing and output. It also keeps the system within the boundary set. For example,control in a 'computer system' is maintained by the control unit that controls and coordinates various units by means of passing different signals through wires.

5.FEEDBACK: Control in a dynamic system is achieved by feedback. Feedback measures output against a standard input in some form of cybernetic procedure that includes communication and control. The feedback may generally be of three types viz.,positive,negative and informational. The positive feedback motivates the system. The negative indicates need of an action. The feedback is a reactive form of control. Outputs from the process of the system are fed back to the control mechanism. The control mechanism then adjusts the control signals to the process on the basis of the data it receives. Feedforward is a protective form of control. For example, in a 'computer system' when logical decisions are taken,the logic unit concludes by comparing the calculated results and the required results.

6.BOUNDARY AND INTERFACE: A system should be defined by its boundaries-the limits that identify its components,processes and interrelationships when it interfaces with another system. For example,in a 'computer system' there is boundary for number of bits, the memory size etc.that is responsible for different levels of accuracy on different machines(like 16-bit,32-bit etc.). The interface in a 'computer system'may be CUI (Character User Interface) or GUI (Graphical User Interface).

7.ENVIRONMENT: The environment is the 'supersystem' within which an organisation operates.It excludes input,processes and outputs. It is the source of external elements that impinge on the system. For example,if the results calculated/the output generated by the 'computer system' are to be used for decision-making purposes in the factory,in a business concern,in an organisation,in a school,in a college or in a government office then the system is same but its environment is different.

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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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