Portal:Systems science Information

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The systems science portal

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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.


Selected article

Electron microscope image of a single neutrophil (yellow), engulfing anthrax bacteria (orange).

An immune system is a collection of mechanisms within an organism that protects against infection by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of pathogens, such as viruses and parasitic worms and distinguishes them from the organism's normal cells and tissues. Detection is complicated as pathogens adapt and evolve new ways to successfully infect the host organism.

To survive this challenge, several mechanisms have evolved that recognize and neutralize pathogens. Even simple unicellular organisms such as bacteria possess enzyme systems that protect against viral infections. Other basic immune mechanisms evolved in ancient eukaryotes and remain in their modern descendants, such as plants, fish, reptiles, and insects. These mechanisms include antimicrobial peptides called defensins, pattern recognition receptors, and the complement system. More sophisticated mechanisms, however, developed relatively recently, with the evolution of vertebrates.

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Selected systems scientist

IEEE-IS-08-George-Klir.jpg

George Jiri Klir (born 1932 Prague, Czechoslovakia) is a Czech-American computer scientist and professor of systems sciences at the Center for Intelligent Systems at the State University of New York at Binghamton, New York.

George Klir is known for path-breaking research over almost four decades. His earlier work was in the areas of systems modeling and simulation, logic design, computer architecture, and discrete mathematics. More current research since the 1990s include the areas of intelligent systems, generalized information theory, fuzzy set theory and fuzzy logic, theory of generalized measures, and soft computing.

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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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