A system is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole or a set of elements (often called 'components' ) and relationships which are different from relationships of the set or its elements to other elements or sets.

Fields that study the general properties of systems include systems theory, cybernetics, dynamical systems, thermodynamics, and complex systems. They investigate the abstract properties of systems' matter and organization, looking for concepts and principles that are independent of domain, substance, type, or temporal scale.

Some systems share common characteristics, including:

  • A system has structure, it contains parts (or components) that are directly or indirectly related to each other;
  • A system has behavior, it contains processes that transform inputs into outputs (material, energy or data);
  • A system has interconnectivity: the parts and processes are connected by structural and/or behavioral relationships.
  • A system's structure and behavior may be decomposed via subsystems and sub-processes to elementary parts and process steps.

The term system may also refer to a set of rules that governs structure and/or behavior. Alternatively, and usually in the context of complex social systems, the term institution is used to describe the set of rules that govern structure and/or behavior.

Read more about System:  Etymology, History, System Concepts, Elements of System, Types of Systems, Analysis of Systems, Application of The System Concept

Famous quotes containing the word system:

    Psychoanalysis is an attempt to examine a person’s self-justifications. Hence it can be undertaken only with the patient’s cooperation and can succeed only when the patient has something to gain by abandoning or modifying his system of self-justification.
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    How natural that the errors of the ancient should be handed down and, mixing with the principles and system which Christ taught, give to us an adulterated Christianity.
    Olympia Brown (1835–1900)

    Some rough political choices lie ahead. Should affirmative action be retained? Should preference be given to people on the basis of income rather than race? Should the system be—and can it be—scrapped altogether?
    David K. Shipler (b. 1942)