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Systems, Volume 5, Issue 1 (March 2017)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Systems in 2016
Systems 2017, 5(1), 2; doi:10.3390/systems5010002
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Research

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Open AccessArticle Investigating the Users’ Approach to ICT Platforms in the City Management
Systems 2017, 5(1), 1; doi:10.3390/systems5010001
Received: 27 November 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 6 January 2017
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Abstract
The increasing relevance of technology and its impact on our everyday life requires multi- and trans-disciplinary studies in order to investigate the ways in which the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools are affected by users’ features and by the external environment. In
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The increasing relevance of technology and its impact on our everyday life requires multi- and trans-disciplinary studies in order to investigate the ways in which the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools are affected by users’ features and by the external environment. In order to enrich existing contributions on this topic, the paper focuses its attention on the city as example of service systems, in order to investigate dimensions and dynamics that influence the city employees’ evaluation and satisfaction in the use of ICT platforms. By adopting the interpretative lens offered by Service Science and Systems Thinking, the domain of city as a service system is analysed and some hypotheses are formulated with reference to the relationships between environment, users, and ICT platform. The hypotheses are investigated through a questionnaire survey on a sample of 1032 municipalities in the Czech Republic and the results are tested using Structural Equation Modelling. The research shows that users’ features and external environment affect the evaluation and the satisfaction of city stakeholders about the use of ICT platforms by underlining the need for enlarging the study on informatics tools, in order to also include subjective variables. The findings are discussed from both theoretical and practical points of view. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Service Systems)
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Open AccessArticle System-of-Systems Design Thinking on Behavior
Systems 2017, 5(1), 3; doi:10.3390/systems5010003
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 6 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
Due to the increasing digitalization of all societal systems, informed design of services and systems becomes pertinent for various stakeholders. This paper discusses the design of digital systems in a user-centered way with the help of subject-oriented design. The approach follows a communication-driven
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Due to the increasing digitalization of all societal systems, informed design of services and systems becomes pertinent for various stakeholders. This paper discusses the design of digital systems in a user-centered way with the help of subject-oriented design. The approach follows a communication-driven and network-centric perspective on a System-of-Systems, whereby system specifications encapsulate behavior and exchange messages, including relevant data, such as business objects. Systems can represent activities of human actors, as well as artefacts. Stakeholders can be actively involved in their roles in the design of a System-of-Systems. In the course of design, they identify and refine role-specific behavior, based on communication to other actors or systems. A System-of-Systems specification evolves as a network of cooperating behavior entities. It develops according to communication needs and system-specific capabilities, on the level of synchronized execution agents, or as an overlay mechanism on existing applications or sub networks. Since certain behavior sequences, such as decision-making procedures, are re-occurring in organizations or eco-systems, the design of complex systems can be facilitated by behavior patterns stemming from existing modeling experiences. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Case Study for the Return on Investment of Internet of Things Using Agent-Based Modelling and Data Science
Systems 2017, 5(1), 4; doi:10.3390/systems5010004
Received: 25 October 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 12 January 2017 / Published: 25 January 2017
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Abstract
As technology advances towards new paradigms such as the Internet of Things, there is a desire among business leaders for a reliable method to determine the value of supporting these ventures. Traditional simulation and analysis techniques cannot model the complex systems inherent in
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As technology advances towards new paradigms such as the Internet of Things, there is a desire among business leaders for a reliable method to determine the value of supporting these ventures. Traditional simulation and analysis techniques cannot model the complex systems inherent in fields such as infrastructure asset management, or suffer from a lack of data on which to build a prediction. Agent-based modelling, through an integration with data science, presents an attractive simulation method to capture these underlying complexities and provide a solution. The aim of this work is to investigate this integration as a refined process for answering practical business questions. A specific case study is addressed to assess the return on investment of installing condition monitoring sensors on lift assets in a London Underground station. An agent-based model is developed for this purpose, supported by analysis from historical data. The simulation results demonstrate how returns can be achieved and highlight features induced as a result of stochasticity in the model. Suggestions of future research paths are additionally outlined. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Constructing a 3D Multiple Mobile Medical Imaging System through Service Science, Management, Engineering and Design
Systems 2017, 5(1), 5; doi:10.3390/systems5010005
Received: 11 November 2016 / Revised: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 17 January 2017
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Abstract
Following the trend of using mobile devices for healthcare, a 3D multiple mobile medical imaging system (3D MMMIS) for doctor’s diagnosis and treatment was constructed through service science, management, engineering and design (SSMED) that can co-create the value between technology and humanity. Service
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Following the trend of using mobile devices for healthcare, a 3D multiple mobile medical imaging system (3D MMMIS) for doctor’s diagnosis and treatment was constructed through service science, management, engineering and design (SSMED) that can co-create the value between technology and humanity. Service experience engineering (SEE) methods were applied to a scenario of a doctors’ consultation, which is a deliberation of two or more healthcare doctors about diagnosis or treatment in particular cases. Proof of service was processed to test the prototype of the 3D MMMIS to check the doctors’ satisfaction with the innovative systems. Results show that doctors are satisfied with the 3D MMMIS. Conclusions suggested that the 3D MMMIS can be a helpful health technology for future healthcare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Service Systems)
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Open AccessArticle The Climate Change-Road Safety-Economy Nexus: A System Dynamics Approach to Understanding Complex Interdependencies
Systems 2017, 5(1), 6; doi:10.3390/systems5010006
Received: 2 August 2016 / Revised: 2 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 23 January 2017
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Abstract
Road accidents have the highest externality costs to society and to the economy, even when compared to the externality damages associated with air emissions and oil dependency. Road safety is one of the most complicated topics, which involves many interdependencies, and so, a
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Road accidents have the highest externality costs to society and to the economy, even when compared to the externality damages associated with air emissions and oil dependency. Road safety is one of the most complicated topics, which involves many interdependencies, and so, a sufficiently thorough analysis of roadway safety will require a novel system-based approach in which the associated feedback relationships and causal effects are given appropriate consideration. The factors affecting accident frequency and severity are highly dependent on economic parameters, environmental factors and weather conditions. In this study, we try to use a system dynamics modeling approach to model the climate change-road safety-economy nexus, thereby investigating the complex interactions among these important areas by tracking how they affect each other over time. For this purpose, five sub-models are developed to model each aspect of the overall nexus and to interact with each other to simulate the overall system. As a result, this comprehensive model can provide a platform for policy makers to test the effectiveness of different policy scenarios to reduce the negative consequences of traffic accidents and improve road safety. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Temporal Modeling of Neural Net Input/Output Behaviors: The Case of XOR
Systems 2017, 5(1), 7; doi:10.3390/systems5010007
Received: 17 November 2016 / Revised: 15 January 2017 / Accepted: 18 January 2017 / Published: 25 January 2017
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Abstract
In the context of the modeling and simulation of neural nets, we formulate definitions for the behavioral realization of memoryless functions. The definitions of realization are substantively different for deterministic and stochastic systems constructed of neuron-inspired components. In contrast to earlier generations of
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In the context of the modeling and simulation of neural nets, we formulate definitions for the behavioral realization of memoryless functions. The definitions of realization are substantively different for deterministic and stochastic systems constructed of neuron-inspired components. In contrast to earlier generations of neural net models, third generation spiking neural nets exhibit important temporal and dynamic properties, and random neural nets provide alternative probabilistic approaches. Our definitions of realization are based on the Discrete Event System Specification (DEVS) formalism that fundamentally include temporal and probabilistic characteristics of neuron system inputs, state, and outputs. The realizations that we construct—in particular for the Exclusive Or (XOR) logic gate—provide insight into the temporal and probabilistic characteristics that real neural systems might display. Our results provide a solid system-theoretical foundation and simulation modeling framework for the high-performance computational support of such applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Analysis Matrix for the Assessment of Smart City Technologies: Main Results of Its Application
Systems 2017, 5(1), 8; doi:10.3390/systems5010008
Received: 3 November 2016 / Revised: 16 January 2017 / Accepted: 26 January 2017 / Published: 29 January 2017
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Abstract
The paper presents the main results of a previously developed methodology to better evaluate new technologies in Smart Cities, using a tool to evaluate different systems and technologies regarding their usefulness, considering each application and how technologies can impact the physical space and
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The paper presents the main results of a previously developed methodology to better evaluate new technologies in Smart Cities, using a tool to evaluate different systems and technologies regarding their usefulness, considering each application and how technologies can impact the physical space and natural environment. Technologies have also been evaluated according to how they are used by citizens, who must be the main concern of all urban development. Through a survey conducted among the Smart City Spanish network (RECI) we found that the ICT’s that change our cities everyday must be reviewed, developing an innovative methodology in order to find an analysis matrix to assess and score all the technologies that affect a Smart City strategy. The paper provides the results of this methodology regarding the three main aspects to be considered in urban developments: mobility, energy efficiency, and quality of life after obtaining the final score for every analyzed technology. This methodology fulfills an identified need to study how new technologies could affect urban scenarios before being applied, developing an analysis system to be used by urban planners and policy-makers to decide how best to use them, and this paper tries to show, in a simple way, how they can appreciate the variances between different solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Cities and Regions as Systems of Innovation)
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Open AccessArticle A Hierarchal Risk Assessment Model Using the Evidential Reasoning Rule
Systems 2017, 5(1), 9; doi:10.3390/systems5010009
Received: 3 November 2016 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 26 January 2017 / Published: 6 February 2017
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Abstract
This paper aims to develop a hierarchical risk assessment model using the newly-developed evidential reasoning (ER) rule, which constitutes a generic conjunctive probabilistic reasoning process. In this paper, we first provide a brief introduction to the basics of the ER rule and emphasize
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This paper aims to develop a hierarchical risk assessment model using the newly-developed evidential reasoning (ER) rule, which constitutes a generic conjunctive probabilistic reasoning process. In this paper, we first provide a brief introduction to the basics of the ER rule and emphasize the strengths for representing and aggregating uncertain information from multiple experts and sources. Further, we discuss the key steps of developing the hierarchical risk assessment framework systematically, including (1) formulation of risk assessment hierarchy; (2) representation of both qualitative and quantitative information; (3) elicitation of attribute weights and information reliabilities; (4) aggregation of assessment information using the ER rule and (5) quantification and ranking of risks using utility-based transformation. The proposed hierarchical risk assessment framework can potentially be implemented to various complex and uncertain systems. A case study on the fire/explosion risk assessment of marine vessels demonstrates the applicability of the proposed risk assessment model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Reaction Networks as a Language for Systemic Modeling: Fundamentals and Examples
Systems 2017, 5(1), 11; doi:10.3390/systems5010011
Received: 4 November 2016 / Revised: 17 January 2017 / Accepted: 18 January 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
The basic processes that bring about living systems are conventionally represented in the framework of chemical reaction networks. Recently, it has been proposed that this framework can be exploited for studying various other phenomena. Reaction networks are specially suited for representing situations where
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The basic processes that bring about living systems are conventionally represented in the framework of chemical reaction networks. Recently, it has been proposed that this framework can be exploited for studying various other phenomena. Reaction networks are specially suited for representing situations where different types of entities interact in contextual ways leading to the emergence of meta-structures. At an abstract level, a reaction network represents a universe whose evolution corresponds to the transformation of collections of entities into other collections of entities. Hence, we propose that systems correspond to the sub-networks that are stable enough to be observed. In this article, we discuss how to use reaction networks for representing systems. Namely, we introduce the different representational levels available (relational, stoichiometric, and kinetic), we show how to identify observable systems in the reaction network, discuss some relevant systemic notions such as context, emergence, and meta-system, and present some examples. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Complexity Triggered by Economic Globalisation— The Issue of On-Line Betting-Related Match Fixing
Systems 2017, 5(1), 12; doi:10.3390/systems5010012
Received: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 13 February 2017
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Abstract
Complexity in mainstream economics consists in high intermediary consumption of mathematics. A new approach to complexity economics dwells upon path-dependent global systems; their emergence and evolving organisation. The focus here is on the complexity of the real economic world due to globalisation. On-line
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Complexity in mainstream economics consists in high intermediary consumption of mathematics. A new approach to complexity economics dwells upon path-dependent global systems; their emergence and evolving organisation. The focus here is on the complexity of the real economic world due to globalisation. On-line betting related match-fixing is a case in point about which the article presents non-exhaustive empirical evidence and shows how it is analysed with the standard model of the economics of crime. There is no room for complexity in such an individualistic approach to corrupt behaviour applied to bet-related fixes. A more complex model is sketched based on interactions between a global (though underground) market for fixes and the actual partly legal, partly illegal global sport betting market. These interactions exhibit how complex is the issue of combating betting-related match fixing. Reviewing those major policies envisaged for containing the latter—prohibition; sanctions; regulation; privatisation (betting rights)—the article opts for a global ‘Sportbettobin’ tax on sport betting gains; in the same vein as the famous Tobin tax on international capital transfers. The novelty in this approach is a variable (increasing) rate applied to increasing tranches of taxation (gains) which should dry up the worst cases of on-line bettingrelated match fixing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Social Systems: Theory And Practice)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Integrating a Production Design Generator with a Business Decision Support System for System-Level Decision Making
Systems 2017, 5(1), 14; doi:10.3390/systems5010014
Received: 1 January 2017 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 15 February 2017
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Abstract
Decision support systems (DSSs) are used to enhance decision making speed and effectiveness. However, without a view of the entire system, any decision may have unanticipated effects, such as sub-optimal outcomes. This paper explores the benefits of applying a DSS over the analysis
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Decision support systems (DSSs) are used to enhance decision making speed and effectiveness. However, without a view of the entire system, any decision may have unanticipated effects, such as sub-optimal outcomes. This paper explores the benefits of applying a DSS over the analysis of unprocessed data and the effectiveness of integrating a product design generator (PDG) with a business DSS where system-level effects can be analyzed. Using survey questions and recording decision makers’ actions, it was found that decision makers are significantly faster and came to better conclusions when using the DSS over unprocessed data. However, it was also seen that the difference between the two variants of the system DSS that were used for testing was insignificant. Overall, this research shows that having a system-level tool is better than the unprocessed data and that large differences in a DSS are required for improvement between them. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Balance Paradigm for Post-Plutocracy: Toward Sustainable Development with Integral Harmony
Systems 2017, 5(1), 16; doi:10.3390/systems5010016
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 12 February 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
For a sustainable human future, a rapid paradigm shift is a must from the prevailing “Explosion Paradigm” to a more reasonable “Balance Paradigm” by means of constantly enriching the existing diverse society-specific holistic cultures (“Cultures”). This means inviting a new age of balanced
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For a sustainable human future, a rapid paradigm shift is a must from the prevailing “Explosion Paradigm” to a more reasonable “Balance Paradigm” by means of constantly enriching the existing diverse society-specific holistic cultures (“Cultures”). This means inviting a new age of balanced and integrated socio-economic systems worldwide with the help of the most important human common property—diverse Cultures. Generally speaking, each Culture has been deeply interwoven with its social value system, belief system, natural-social environments, and experience-based knowledge and wisdom. Such Cultures all over the world, however, have been mostly devastated by the modern ideology of lopsided market fundamentalism (“Market”) that has favored the plutocracy-driven power structure (“Big Market”) of the world. In order to seek a sustainable future by achieving the paradigm shift, the devastated diverse Cultures need to be restored, invigorated and enriched by long-term worldwide collaborations. For such a purpose, we cannot rely totally on the existing line of modern thoughts and theories of economics and other disciplines. Therefore, the present article introduces an alternative theoretical framework of balanced socio-economic development, which is argued for on the assumption of respectively and differently enriched diverse Cultures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Social Systems: Theory And Practice)
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Open AccessArticle Formal Proof of the Dependable Bypassing Routing Algorithm Suitable for Adaptive Networks on Chip QnoC Architecture
Systems 2017, 5(1), 17; doi:10.3390/systems5010017
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
Approaches for the design of fault tolerant Network-on-Chip (NoC) for use in System-on-Chip (SoC) reconfigurable technology using Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology are challenging, especially in Multiprocessor System-on-Chip (MPSoC) design. To achieve this, the use of rigorous formal approaches, based on incremental design
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Approaches for the design of fault tolerant Network-on-Chip (NoC) for use in System-on-Chip (SoC) reconfigurable technology using Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology are challenging, especially in Multiprocessor System-on-Chip (MPSoC) design. To achieve this, the use of rigorous formal approaches, based on incremental design and proof theory, has become an essential step in the validation process. The Event-B method is a promising formal approach that can be used to develop, model and prove accurately SoC and MPSoC architectures. This paper proposes a formal verification approach for NoC architecture including the dependability constraints relating to the choice of the path routing of data packets and the strategy imposed for diversion when faulty routers are detected. The formalization process is incremental and validated by correct-by-construction development of the NoC architecture. Using the concepts of graph colouring and B-event formalism, the results obtained have demonstrated its efficiency for determining the bugs, and a solution to ensure a fast and reliable operation of the network when compared to existing similar methods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Techno-Politics of Data and Smart Devolution in City-Regions: Comparing Glasgow, Bristol, Barcelona, and Bilbao
Systems 2017, 5(1), 18; doi:10.3390/systems5010018
Received: 26 November 2016 / Revised: 10 February 2017 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
This paper explores the substantial effect that the critical understanding and techno-political consideration of data are having in some smart city strategies. Particularly, the paper presents some results of a comparative study of four cases of smart city transitions: Glasgow, Bristol, Barcelona, and
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This paper explores the substantial effect that the critical understanding and techno-political consideration of data are having in some smart city strategies. Particularly, the paper presents some results of a comparative study of four cases of smart city transitions: Glasgow, Bristol, Barcelona, and Bilbao. Likewise, considering how relevant the city-regional path-dependency is in each territorial context, the paper will elucidate the notion of smart devolution as a key governance component that is enabling some cities to formulate their own smart city-regional governance policies and implement them by considering the role of the smart citizens as decision makers rather than mere data providers. The paper concludes by identifying an implicit smart city-regional governance strategy for each case based on the techno-politics of data and smart devolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Cities and Regions as Systems of Innovation)
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Open AccessArticle Research vs. Practice on Manufacturing Firms’ Servitization Strategies: A Gap Analysis and Research Agenda
Systems 2017, 5(1), 19; doi:10.3390/systems5010019
Received: 4 January 2017 / Revised: 10 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
Servitization in the manufacturing industry implies a shift from an offer based mainly on standard goods, to a wider value proposition composed of solutions aimed at solving specific customers’ problems, obtained by integrating tangible and intangible elements. The purpose of this paper is
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Servitization in the manufacturing industry implies a shift from an offer based mainly on standard goods, to a wider value proposition composed of solutions aimed at solving specific customers’ problems, obtained by integrating tangible and intangible elements. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the servitization strategies of manufacturing firms, more specifically about: (i) how manufacturing companies move toward servitization (servitization pattern); (ii) how they achieve the capabilities needed; and (iii) which factors enable this transition. We did so by comparing the state of the art of academic research with a qualified sample of case studies of global companies that famously improved their competitiveness by shifting from products to solutions. The results show some gaps between research and practice, concerning in particular: the impact (either transformational or integrative) of servitization on the manufacturing organization; the role of financial resources in shaping the capability achievement strategy, particularly for external acquisitions, and; the role of servitization enablers poorly considered by the extant literature, such as time, leadership and continuity, operational excellence and digital technologies. These findings lead to the definition of seven formalized research directions, thus outlining an agenda for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Service Systems)
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Open AccessArticle What Are Ideological Systems?
Systems 2017, 5(1), 21; doi:10.3390/systems5010021
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 23 February 2017 / Published: 25 February 2017
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Abstract
Ideology is a systemic property of cognition central to the transmission and actualization of beliefs. Ideologies take many forms including religious, philosophical, popular and scientific. They play a central role in both personal identity and in the way society holds itself together. Therefore,
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Ideology is a systemic property of cognition central to the transmission and actualization of beliefs. Ideologies take many forms including religious, philosophical, popular and scientific. They play a central role in both personal identity and in the way society holds itself together. Therefore, it is important to understand how to model identities. The article introduces ideologies as a function of cognition that have been described by political scientists and critical theorists. There follows a typology of ideologies that shows their increasing complexity as societies develop. These considerations lead to the identification of key elements and variables in an ideology that can be expressed mathematically together with some of their systemic relations. These variables may be used to estimate the validation of ideologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Social Systems: Theory And Practice)
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Open AccessArticle Apithology Systems Inquiry: Evaluation from a Generativist Ontology
Systems 2017, 5(1), 22; doi:10.3390/systems5010022
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 18 February 2017 / Accepted: 28 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
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Abstract
The ontological premise of a systems research philosophy raises some unique questions about research efficacy. The study of the relations between abstract objects in bounded contexts places systems inquiry into a specific research category. Different systems research paradigms deal with the question of
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The ontological premise of a systems research philosophy raises some unique questions about research efficacy. The study of the relations between abstract objects in bounded contexts places systems inquiry into a specific research category. Different systems research paradigms deal with the question of research evaluation distinctively. This article examines the defining criteria for the evaluation of systems research within a generativist systems ontology. Three criteria to inform the design of generativist systems research are proposed. Their use is illustrated for the generativist systems research discipline of apithology. The proposed criteria of research validity, credibility and reliability generate a fourth criterion: systems research veracity. A heuristic for discerning the results of a generativist research design prior to its commencement is provided by an apithology triptych. The benefit of this approach is to enable the design of research of relevance, significance and importance that leads naturally to apithology systems research of consequence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Research)
Open AccessArticle From Systems to Organisations
Systems 2017, 5(1), 23; doi:10.3390/systems5010023
Received: 31 October 2016 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 6 March 2017
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Review

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Open AccessReview Systems Engineering in Front-End Governance of Major Public Investment Projects
Systems 2017, 5(1), 13; doi:10.3390/systems5010013
Received: 2 January 2017 / Revised: 7 February 2017 / Accepted: 8 February 2017 / Published: 15 February 2017
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Abstract
This paper provides an account of how systems engineering principles are applied by the Norwegian government to improve up-front planning and decision-making of large public investment projects, as well as the effect of these efforts after 15 years of operations. It suggests that
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This paper provides an account of how systems engineering principles are applied by the Norwegian government to improve up-front planning and decision-making of large public investment projects, as well as the effect of these efforts after 15 years of operations. It suggests that the results are promising, both in securing budgetary compliance, but also to ensure conceptual solutions that are economically viable in a life-time perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Research)
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Open AccessReview Research Challenges for the Internet of Things: What Role Can OR Play?
Systems 2017, 5(1), 24; doi:10.3390/systems5010024
Received: 16 December 2016 / Revised: 18 February 2017 / Accepted: 8 March 2017 / Published: 14 March 2017
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Abstract
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an extension of the Internet in which large numbers of “things”, including sensors, actuators and processors, in addition to human users, are networked and able to provide high resolution data on their environment and exercise a degree
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The Internet of Things (IoT) is an extension of the Internet in which large numbers of “things”, including sensors, actuators and processors, in addition to human users, are networked and able to provide high resolution data on their environment and exercise a degree of control over it. It is still at an early stage of development, and many problems/research challenges must be solved before it is widely adopted. Many of these are technical, including interoperability and scalability, as billions of heterogeneous devices will be connected, but deciding on how to invest in the IoT is a challenge for business, and there are also major social, legal and ethical challenges, including security and privacy of data collection, which must be resolved. As the future IoT will be a multi-national, multi-industry, multi-technology infrastructure, the paper reviews the global standardization efforts that are underway to facilitate its worldwide creation and adoption. The main purpose of the paper is to give a broad survey, based on published literature, of the methods of Operations Research (OR), both the mathematical tools and techniques of “hard” OR, and the various approaches of Systems Thinking, including “soft” OR, which may assist in dealing with these problems. A subset of these is described in greater depth to better convey what might be involved in applying OR and Systems Thinking to the IoT. It is suggested that OR has a role to play in balancing the technical and non-technical research challenges which confront the IoT. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessConcept Paper New Resource-Wise Planning Strategies for Smart Urban-Rural Development in Finland
Systems 2017, 5(1), 10; doi:10.3390/systems5010010
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 26 January 2017 / Accepted: 2 February 2017 / Published: 7 February 2017
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Abstract
This article discusses the opportunities and challenges for resource-wise development strategies in regional planning. Spatial planning integrates the key aspects, transportation, housing, and food production which are, on many occasions, stated as the most significant consumption factors causing environmental impacts. In light of
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This article discusses the opportunities and challenges for resource-wise development strategies in regional planning. Spatial planning integrates the key aspects, transportation, housing, and food production which are, on many occasions, stated as the most significant consumption factors causing environmental impacts. In light of the challenges that regions are currently facing in Finland, we are drawing attention to the role of strategic spatial planning as demand-responsive resource management, a theme which is still inadequately addressed within regional development and planning in Finland. In many other fields of society, innovative data-based products and demand- and user-driven services are considered important sources of success in the future. Such strategies combine different types of service providers, like deliveries for groceries or restaurant meals, mobile healthcare services, or public transport with on-demand services. We highlight the fact that a regionally large and sparsely populated country, such as Finland, cannot achieve success solely through centralisation. Instead, smart networking, co-creation, and innovative cyber-physical solutions are vital for the utilisation of the entire country’s resource potentiality. In conclusion, we underpin the need for a framework, which would offer a strategic support scheme for resource-wise development, resource optimization, and closure of yield gaps. In our view it is necessary to begin to envision, strategise, and develop user- and demand-responsive development strategies with a specific aim for sustainable, resource-wise ways of life in northern regions, also outside the growing urban centres, and innovate solutions that help individuals, communities, and the whole society to renew and manage resources wisely. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Cities and Regions as Systems of Innovation)
Open AccessConcept Paper Transdisciplinarity Needs Systemism
Systems 2017, 5(1), 15; doi:10.3390/systems5010015
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 2 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 16 February 2017
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Abstract
The main message of this paper is that systemism is best suited for transdisciplinary studies. A description of disciplinary sciences, transdisciplinary sciences and systems sciences is given, along with their different definitions of aims, scope and tools. The rationale for transdisciplinarity is global
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The main message of this paper is that systemism is best suited for transdisciplinary studies. A description of disciplinary sciences, transdisciplinary sciences and systems sciences is given, along with their different definitions of aims, scope and tools. The rationale for transdisciplinarity is global challenges, which are complex. The rationale for systemism is the concretization of understanding complexity. Drawing upon Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s intention of a General System Theory, three items deserve attention—the world-view of a synergistic systems technology, the world picture of an emergentist systems theory, and the way of thinking of an integrationist systems method. Full article
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Open AccessConcept Paper The Role of Analytical Frameworks for Systemic Research Design, Explained in the Analysis of Drivers and Dynamics of Historic Land-Use Changes
Systems 2017, 5(1), 20; doi:10.3390/systems5010020
Received: 14 January 2017 / Revised: 5 February 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
Analytical frameworks provide the basic vocabulary of concepts and terms that may be used to construct the kinds of causal explanations expected of a theory. In addition, framework-based approaches are applied as a way of dealing with the complexity that arises in situations
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Analytical frameworks provide the basic vocabulary of concepts and terms that may be used to construct the kinds of causal explanations expected of a theory. In addition, framework-based approaches are applied as a way of dealing with the complexity that arises in situations involving human interactions with the environment. This paper presents an example of an application of the “Analytical Framework for a Systemic Analysis of Drivers and Dynamics of Historical Land-Use Changes” with the purpose of showing the role of the selected analytical framework in the design of systemic research, namely as it is conceived and as it develops over time. This analytical framework helps to organize research by linking the theoretical questions to the empirical analysis, while serving as a platform for the construction of theoretical explanations, which represent the flow of knowledge in various contexts and conditions. In the context of systems research, the combination of an analytical framework with grounded theory approaches may allow researchers to achieve both creative thinking and novel outcomes, without losing a certain degree of coherence. We also hope to understand the real motives behind decision-making and dynamics of space and time in order to support the design of policies that take into account local differences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Research)
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