What is a system?

What do people mean when they talk about the system? After all, most of us use this word intuitively, without thinking about its meaning. In this article we will talk about what a system is in a general sense.

Definition: what is a system

Due to the fact that this concept is used in various fields of human activity and scientific disciplines, he has many definitions. The use of one or another definition depends on the system in question (field of knowledge) and in what context the system is considered. However, all definitions are reduced to the fact that the system is a clearly ordered set of several elements that constitute a single whole, all elements of the system are subject to the same laws and are interrelated. Also, the system can be part of a larger system, and in this case it will be an element of a larger system.

From this definition follows another concept - “element”. And, therefore, another question arises: what is an element of the system?

The system element is an integral part of the system.Part of the system can be various objects, organisms, phenomena, information, knowledge.

Many of us at least once, have heard such phrases as: “political system”, “information system”, “nutrition system”, “nervous system”, “educational system” and so on. These are systems of various fields of knowledge.

Signs of the system

In order for an object to be considered as a system, it must have certain properties (features):

  • Integrity. First of all, the system is considered as a set of elements. Elements included in the system may differ in functions and properties, but they are compatible, and function as a whole.
  • Structure (set of links). Creating a single whole from disparate parts without a clear structure is impossible, therefore the next important feature of the system is the interconnection of elements. Depending on how the elements are interconnected in the system, the properties of the system will be different. That is, the same elements, with different connections, will form different in system properties. In addition, the links between the elements of the system are stronger than the links of these elements with the external environment.
  • Emergence.A system may have properties not inherent in any element of the system, that is, not every element of the system individually determines the properties of the system, namely the relationship between these elements.
  • Synergy. The functionality of the system, its properties exceed the total capabilities of all elements of the system.

System classification

There is a fairly large variety of classifications of systems. Consider some of them:

  • By origin they distinguish: natural, artificial and mixed systems. In different situations, the same system can relate to one or another type. For example, the ecological system is a natural system formed by natural forces, possessing certain characteristics, and inhabited by various living organisms. If we are talking about a lake, then this is a natural ecological system, and the reservoir is an artificially created ecosystem.
  • By the number of elements and the complexity of their relationships, they are distinguished: simple and complex systems.
  • According to the relationship with the external environment, there are: open and closed (closed) systems. For example, the Antarctic subglacial lake is a closed system, and there is practically no environmental impact on it.But if we are talking about lakes on the surface of the Earth, then all of them are open ecosystems that are affected by precipitation, rivers that flow into them, people and other elements of the external environment.
  • According to the ability to develop: static and dynamic. Static systems do not change over time, dynamic vice versa.
  • By degree of organization: diffuse (poorly organized), self-organizing (developing), well-organized. Thus, business entities (system) operating in the same field achieve different goals, and to a greater extent their success depends on how efficiently management in these organizations is, how quickly the system responds to changes in the external environment (for example, market conditions, for a trade organization).

What is the type of system

Different types of systems, called systems consisting of the same type of elements that are in different connections, and perform similar functions. An excellent example is the types of nervous systems of various organisms: the diffuse nervous system, the stem nervous system, and others.