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.
Famous quotes containing the word system:
“Those words freedom and opportunity do not mean a license to climb upwards by pushing other people down. Any paternalistic system that tries to provide for security for everyone from above only calls for an impossible task and a regimentation utterly uncongenial to the spirit of our people.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt (18821945)
“Social and scientific progress are assured, sir, once our great system of postpossession payments is in operation, not the installment plan, no sir, but a system of small postpossession payments that clinch the investment. No possible rational human wish unfulfilled. A man with a salary of fifty dollars a week can start payments on a Rolls-Royce, the Waldorf-Astoria, or a troupe of trained seals if he so desires.”
—John Dos Passos (18961970)
“Whoever places his trust into a system will soon be without a home. While you are building your third story, the two lower ones have already been dismantled.”
—Franz Grillparzer (17911872)