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Portal:Systems science

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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.


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Systems art is art influenced by systems analysis, which reflects on natural systems, social systems and social signs of the art world itself. Systems art emerged as part of the first wave of the conceptual art movement extended in the 1960s and 1970s. Close related and overlapping terms are Anti-form movement, Cybernetic art, Generative Systems, Process art, Systems aesthetic, Systemic art, Systemic painting and Systems sculptures.

In systems art the concept and ideas of process related systems and systems theory are involved in the work and take precedence over traditional aesthetic object related and material concerns. Systems art is named by Jack Burnham in the 1968 Artforum article "Real Systems Art". Burnham had investigated the effects of science and technology on the sculpture of this century. He saw a dramatic contrast between the handling of the place-oriented object sculpture and the extreme mobility of Systems sculpture.

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Planets and dwarf planets of the Solar System; while the sizes are to scale, the relative distances from the Sun are not.

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Dennis Meadows (1942) is an American scientist and professor of Systems Management and director of the Institute for Policy and Social Science Research at the University of New Hampshire.[1] He lives in Durham, New Hampshire. known as co-author of Limits to Growth.

"In 1972 it was inconceivable to most people that the physical impact of humanity’s activities could ever grow large enough to alter basic natural processes of the globe."[2] In that time "we had to talk in our first edition of Limits to Growth about future problems."[2] Their studies showed "that humanity’s activities were still below sustainable levels. Now they are above. In 1972 our recommendations told how to slow growth."[2] Now, Meadows said, "we must tell people how to manage an orderly reduction of their activities back down below the limits of the earth’s resources".[2]

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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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