Portal:Systems science

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The systems science portal

Complex adaptive system.svg
Complex systems approach

Systems are sets of entities, physical or abstract, comprising a whole where each component interacts with or is related to at least one other component and they all serve a common objective. The scientific research field which is engaged in the interdisciplinary study of universal system-based properties of the world is general system theory, systems science and recently systemics. This field investigates the abstract properties of matter and mind, and their organization, searching for concepts and principles which are independent of the specific domain, substance, and type of system, and of the spatial and/or temporal scales of its existence.

Systems science can be viewed as ... "a metalanguage of concepts and models for interdisciplinary use, still now evolving and far from being stabilized. This is the result of a slow process of accretion through inclusion and interconnection of many notions, which came and are still coming from very different disciplines. The process started more than a century ago, but has gathered momentum since 1948 through the pioneering work of Norbert Wiener, John von Neumann, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Heinz von Foerster and W. Ross Ashby, among many others" (Charles François, 1999).


Selected article

Major features of the Solar System (not to scale)

The Solar System consists of the Sun and the other celestial objects gravitationally bound to it: the eight planets, their 165 known moons, three dwarf planets (Ceres, Eris, and Pluto) and their four known moons, and billions of small bodies. This last category includes asteroids, Kuiper belt objects, comets, meteoroids, and interplanetary dust.

In broad terms, the charted regions of the Solar System consist of the Sun, four terrestrial inner planets, an asteroid belt composed of small rocky bodies, four gas giant outer planets, and a second belt, called the Kuiper belt, composed of icy objects. Beyond the Kuiper belt lies the scattered disc, the heliopause, and ultimately the hypothetical Oort cloud.


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Lorenz attractor yb.svg

The Lorenz attractor is a 3-dimensional structure corresponding to the long-term behavior of a chaotic flow, noted for its butterfly shape. The map shows how the state of a dynamical system (the three variables of a three-dimensional system) evolves over time in a complex, non-repeating pattern.

The attractor itself, and the equations from which it is derived, were introduced by Edward Lorenz in 1963, who derived it from the simplified equations of convection rolls arising in the equations of the atmosphere.


Selected systems scientist

Herbert Alexander Simon (June 15, 1916 – February 9, 2001) was an American political scientist whose research ranged across the fields of cognitive psychology, computer science, public administration, economics, management, and philosophy of science and a professor, most notably, at Carnegie Mellon University.

Simon was not only a polymath, but a truly innovative thinker. He was among the founding fathers of several of today's most important scientific domains, including Artificial Intelligence, information processing, decision-making, problem-solving, attention economics, organization theory, complex systems, and computer simulation of scientific discovery. He coined the terms bounded rationality and satisficing, and was the first to analyze the architecture of complexity and to propose a preferential attachment mechanism to explain power law distributions.




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".





Systems science topics


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