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Fundamental properties of complex systems

Keywords:

N.V. Selezneva – Dr. Sc. (Eng.), Associate Professor, Professor, MIREA (Moscow)


The term «system» is often used in various areas of science and technology. Despite this there are currently no studies that reveal the essence of this concept. Comparative analysis of different types of systems (living, non-living, natural, technical) helped to identify the fundamental properties that distinguish them from other devices and entities. Any system regardless of the origin consists of a stable set of interrelated elements (integrity), has a well-defined composition, structure, and communication (effectiveness), able to perceive external influence and respond to the appropriate response (manageability). All systems are based on common physical and information laws (uniformity) and combine different forms of matter. The heterogeneity of the composition and the contradictory properties of elements (heterogeneity) provide stability for the existence of systems and give them new properties (energycost). Different systems have mutual compatibility, which is able to unite and create more complex systems. Each element in the system may be replaced by another identical without losing its integrity and functionality (interchangeability). All systems interact with the environment (openness), resulting in a contrasting relative to the environment. The complexity and the randomness are the basic properties of all systems, so that it is impossible to reliably and fully know their essence, to explain and predict their behavior. The senselessness of existence, the homogeneity of the structure, isolation from the external environment and static are signs of fragmentariness. Artificial systems are not able to provide itself with energy, independently maintain their integrity, and they have no purpose of existence. Only part of man makes man-made devices are full-fledged systems. Therefore, artificial systems should only be considered as a symbiosis of man and machine.
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