1.1 SEB323 Systems Concepts #1 17-Jul-09

1.1 SEB323 Systems Concepts #1 17-Jul-09 - Well have 3...

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We’ll have 3 lectures (3 sets of study notes) for this topic. Our main focus is to cover the fundamentals of systems theory and how it is (increasingly) being applied in many disciplines – not just for science and engineering centric ones. Increasingly, systems theory is being used to evaluate and predict the behaviour of organisations, financial markets, mass population behaviour (such as flu pandemics), and so on. 1
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The Solar System. The Earth can be considered as a complete sub-system and has interaction with other subsystems (the sun, planets and moons). 2
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A system is a collection of “things” which have some degree of interdependency and interaction with other “things” such that the combined effect of them is different than what is possible by one “thing” in isolation or the simple sum of all the “things” capabilities. Commonly terms like elements, parts, components, units, and so on are used to refer to the “things”. Systems generally are defined with some order of how the elements are arranged and of their interactions with each other. 3
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When evaluating a system we typically are interested in what the system is composed of (elements and structure) and what interactions the systems has with its surrounding environment. We do not always need to know or understand the structure of a system in order to study and understand how a system affects and interacts with its environment. For example, often we don’t need to understand and consider all elements of the human body in order to understand how humans interact with their environment to understand how humans interact with their environment. At a basic needs level, humans need three things to survive: food, shelter, and warmth. We don’t need to understand the intracacies of the inner workings of the human body to understand that we need to eat food regularly to survive. How do we define the “environment” as it relates to a system. Quite simply, a system’s environment includes everything that is not part of the system itself. So if it is not part of a system, it is part of a system’s environment. 4
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Using definitions of systems and sub-systems is how we can overcome issues in understanding complex systems. It should be reasonable to understand that if we combine multiple systems together that we can produce a new system (or supersystem) which has the hierarchy that the new system is composed of multiple subsystems. It’s quite common to use the principle of hierarchical systems. For example in biology, we can either study the human body as a system or study specific organs of the body as subsystems within it (e g heart liver brain skin etc ) subsystems within it (e.g., heart, liver, brain, skin, etc.). In the same way, most cars are designed and manufactured using the principle of
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This note was uploaded on 09/27/2009 for the course SEB 323 - S taught by Professor Professor during the Three '09 term at Deakin.

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1.1 SEB323 Systems Concepts #1 17-Jul-09 - Well have 3...

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