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Impression of systems thinking about society

Systems science is an interdisciplinary field that studies the nature of systems—from simple to complex—in nature, society, cognition, 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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Specification of an Aircraft System.jpg

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a means of organizing system development activities based on system and product decompositions. The systems engineering process produces system and product descriptions. These product architectures, together with associated services (e.g., program management, systems engineering, etc.) are organized and depicted in a hierarchical tree-like structure that is the WBS.

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Joseph Francis Shea.jpg

Joseph Francis Shea (September 5, 1926–February 14, 1999) was an aerospace engineer and NASA manager. As head of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, Shea played a key role in shaping the course of the Apollo program, helping to lead NASA to the decision in favor of lunar orbit rendezvous and supporting "all up" testing of the Saturn V rocket.

Shea's speciality was systems engineering: a new type of engineering in the 1950s that focused on the management and integration of large-scale projects, turning the work of engineers and contractors into one functioning whole. He played a significant role in the Titan I project; as George Mueller writes, "he contributed a considerable amount of engineering innovation and project management skill and was directly responsible for the successful development of this pioneering guidance system...."

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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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