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Systems science

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Systems science is an interdisciplinary field of science that studies the nature of

complex systems in nature, society, and science. It aims to develop interdisciplinary
foundations, which are applicable in a variety of areas, such as engineering, biology,
medicine and social sciences.
Systems sciences covers formal sciences fields like :

complex systems
dynamical systems theory
and systems theory

and applications in the field of the natural and social sciences and engineering, such
as :

control theory
operations research
social systems theory
systems biology

systems dynamics
systems ecology
systems engineering
and systems psychology.


1 Theories

2 Fields

3 Systems scientists

4 Organizations

5 See also

6 References

7 Further reading

8 External links

Since the emergence of the General Systems Research in the 1950s systems thinking
and systems science has been developed into all kinds of theoretical frameworks. The
following overview will only show the most basic types.

Systems notes of Henk Bikker, TU Delft, 1991.

Systems analysis
Systems analysis is the interdisciplinary branch of science, dealing with analysis
of systems, often prior to their automation as computer systems, and the

interactions within those systems. This field is closely related to operations

Systems design
In computing systems design is the process or art of defining the hardware and
software architecture, components, modules, interfaces, and data for a computer
system to satisfy specified requirements. One could see it as the application of
systems theory to computing. Some overlap with the discipline of systems
analysis appears inevitable.
System dynamics

System dynamics is an approach to understanding the behaviour of complex

systems over time. It deals with internal feedback loops and time delays that

affect the behaviour of the entire system.[2] What makes using system dynamics
different from other approaches to studying complex systems is the use of

feedback loops and stocks and flows. These elements help describe how even
seemingly simple systems display baffling nonlinearity.

Systems engineering

Systems Engineering (SE) is an interdisciplinary field of engineering, that focuses

on the development and organization of complex artificial systems. Systems

engineering has emerged into all kinds of sciences, and universities nowadays
offer all kinds of specialized academic programs. [3]
Systems Methodologies

There are several types of Systems Methodologies, that is, disciplines for
analysis of systems. For example:

Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) : in the field of organizational studies is

an approach to organisational process modelling and it can be used both
for general problem solving and in the management of change. It was
developed in England by academics at the University of Lancaster

Systems Department through a ten year Action Research programme.

System Development Methodology (SDM) in the field of IT development is

a general term applied to a variety of structured, organized processes for
developing information technology and embedded software systems.

Systems theories
Systems theory is an interdisciplinary field of science. It studies the nature of
complex systems in nature, society, and science. More specificially, it is a
framework by which one can analyze and/or describe any group of objects that
work in concert to produce some result.
Systems science

Systems sciences are scientific disciplines partly based on systems thinking such
as Chaos theory, Complex systems, Control theory, Cybernetics, Sociotechnical
systems theory, Systems biology, Systems ecology, Systems psychology and the
already mentioned Systems dynamics, Systems engineering and Systems theory.

Systems sciences covers formal sciences fields like dynamical systems theory and

applications in the field of the natural and social sciences and engineering, such as
social systems theory and systems dynamics.

Chaos theory
Complex systems

Complexity theory






Social dynamics



engineering and



systems theory
systems theory


Earth systems

systems theory

systems theory



Systems theory


Family systems



Systems engineering



Affect control

Systems ecology

Control theory


System dynamics






Systems psychology

systems biology


Systems biology


Operations research



Living systems

LTI system


Control systems






control theory


systems theory

system theory



Systems theory in


Systems theory in

Talcott Parsons

Niklas Luhmann

[edit] Systems scientists

Main article: List of systems scientists
General systems scientists can be divided into three generations. The founders of the
systems movement like Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Kenneth Boulding, Ralph Gerard, James

Grier Miller, George J. Klir,and Anatol Rapoport were all born between 1900 and 1920.
They all came from different natural and social science disciplines and joined forces in
the 1950s to established the general systems theory paradigm. Along with the
organization of their efforts a first generation of systems scientists rose.
Among them were other scientists like Ackoff, Ashby and Churchman, who popularized
the systems concept in the 1950s and 1960s. These scientists inspired and educated a
second generation with more notable scientist like Ervin Laszlo (1932) and Fritjof Capra
(1939), who wrote about systems theory in the 1970s and 1980s. Others got
acquainted and started studying these works in the 1980s and started writing about it
since the 1990s. Debora Hammond can be seen as a typical representative of these
third generation of general systems scientists.
[edit] Organizations
Main article: List of systems sciences organizations

The International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) is an organisation for
interdisciplinary collaboration and synthesis of systems sciences. The ISSS is unique
among systems-oriented institutions in terms of the breadth of its scope, bringing

together scholars and practitioners from academic, business, government, and non-profit
organizations. Based on fifty years of tremendous interdisciplinary research from the
scientific study of complex systems to interactive approaches in management and

community development. This society was initially conceived in 1954 at the Stanford
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences by Ludwig von Bertalanffy,
Kenneth Boulding, Ralph Gerard, and Anatol Rapoport.

In the field of systems science the International Federation for Systems Research
(IFSR) is an international federation for global and local societies in the field of
systems science. This federation is a non-profit, scientific and educational agency

founded in 1981, and constituted of some thirty member organizations from various
countries. The overall purpose of this Federation is to advance cybernetic and systems
research and systems applications and to serve the international systems community.
The best known research institute in the field is the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) located in
Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States, dedicated to the study of complex systems. This
institute was founded in 1984 by George Cowan, David Pines, Stirling Colgate, Murray
Gell-Mann, Nick Metropolis, Herb Anderson, Peter A. Carruthers, and Richard Slansky.
All but Pines and Gell-Mann were scientists with Los Alamos National Laboratory. SFI's
original mission was to disseminate the notion of a separate interdisciplinary research
area, complexity theory referred to at SFI as complexity science.
[edit] See also

Systems science portal

List of systems sciences organizations

List of systems scientists

Principia Cybernetica

System engineering


Systems theory

Systems theory in archaeology

Systems theory in anthropology

Systems theory in political science

World-systems theory

System equivalence


[edit] References
1. ^ Illustration is made by Marcel Douwe Dekker (2007) based on an own
standard and Pierre Malotaux (1985), "Constructieleer van de mensenlijke
samenwerking", in BB5 Collegedictaat TU Delft, pp. 120-147.

2. ^ MIT System Dynamics in Education Project (SDEP)

3. ^ See for further details: List of systems engineering at universities

[edit] Further reading

B. A. Bayraktar, Education in Systems Science, 1979, 369 pp.

Kenneth D. Bailey, "Fifty Years of Systems Science:Further Reflections", Systems

Research and Behavioral Science, 22, 2005, pp. 355361.

Robert L. Flood, Ewart R Carson, Dealing with Complexity: An Introduction to

the Theory and Application of Systems Science, 1988.

George J. Klir, Facets of Systems Science, Plenum Press, 1991.

Ervin Lszl, Systems Science and World Order: Selected Studies, 1983.
Anatol Rapoport (ed.), General Systems: Yearbook of the Society for the

Advancement of General Systems Theory, Society for General Systems Research,

Vol 1., 1956.

Li D. Xu, "The contributions of Systems Science to Information Systems

Research", Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 17, 2000, pp. 105116.

Graeme Donald Snooks, "A general theory of complex living systems: Exploring
the demand side of dynamics", Complexity, vol. 13, no. 6, July/August 2008.

John N. Warfield, "A proposal for Systems Science", Systems Research and

Behavioral Science, 20, 2003, pp. 507520.

[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: systems theory

Principia Cybernetica Web

International Society for the System Sciences

UK Systems Society
[hide]v d eSystems and systems science


Systems theory Systems science Systems scientists (Conceptual

categories Physical Social)

Biological Complex Complex adaptive Conceptual Database
management Dynamical Economical Ecosystem Formal Global

Positioning System Human anatomy Information systems Legal systems


of the world Systems of measurement Metric system Multi-agent

system Nervous system Nonlinearity Operating system Physical
system Political system Sensory system Social structure Solar
System Systems art

Chaos theory Complex systems Control theory Cybernetics Living

Theoretical systems Sociotechnical systems theory Systems biology System

dynamics Systems ecology Systems engineering Systems psychology

Systems science Systems theory
Russell L. Ackoff William Ross Ashby Bla H. Bnthy Gregory
Bateson Richard E. Bellman Stafford Beer Ludwig von Bertalanffy


Murray Bowen Kenneth E. Boulding C. West Churchman George

scientists Dantzig Heinz von Foerster Jay Wright Forrester George Klir Edward
Lorenz Niklas Luhmann Humberto Maturana Margaret Mead Donella
Meadows Mihajlo D. Mesarovic James Grier Miller

Howard T. Odum

Talcott Parsons Ilya Prigogine Anatol Rapoport Claude Shannon

Francisco Varela Kevin Warwick Norbert Wiener Anthony Wilden

Charles A S Hall
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Categories: Systems science | Systems theory | Complex systems theory | Cybernetics

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