What is a System?
Class Definitions: "A set of components that are related in some manner. A set of variables selected by an observer (Ashby, 1960)."
My Definition: A Set of organized interrelated components, objects or variables which interact with each other in order to work toward some specific task.
We learned a vast number of terms and concepts that went along with systems and cybernetics. Personally I think that one of the more important ones is Holism. Holism basically states that the whole of the system is greater than the sum of its parts. It tells of the destructive consequences of breaking up whole systems. My second system of Meadowlark Hills is a great example of this. Meadowlark hills is a vast systems made up of a variety of departments. If the system were to be broken down and examined individually, one wouldn't be able to get a good view of the organization.
Another concept we learned about was Open vs. Closed Systems. An open system is described as having an interconnected interactive relationship with it's environment. Materials and feedback are both given and received in the environment and system. A Closed system talks about a system that can maintain itself independent from the environment. My 5th system, a Tree, is a great example of an open system. The leaves of the tree exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide as well as absorb sunlight. The trunk of the tree absorbs nutrients and water from the soil. If this system were to be separated from the environment, it would probably fail.
Comprehension on systems
Despite thorough reading and all of the systems I made, I am still a little hazy about designing systems. What I seem to have the most trouble with is the interrelation of the system and the environment it is in. I then look at closed systems, which can exist independently within their environment with little or no interaction.
I think I understand the concepts of systems and their environments, however I feel that I cannot correctly render such a system with accuracy