Open AccessConcept Paper
Transdisciplinarity Needs Systemism
Systems 2017, 5(1), 15; doi:10.3390/systems5010015 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Systems Engineering in Front-End Governance of Major Public Investment Projects
Systems 2017, 5(1), 13; doi:10.3390/systems5010013 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

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 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

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 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Reaction Networks as a Language for Systemic Modeling: Fundamentals and Examples
Systems 2017, 5(1), 11; doi:10.3390/systems5010011 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessConcept Paper
New Resource-Wise Planning Strategies for Smart Urban-Rural Development in Finland
Systems 2017, 5(1), 10; doi:10.3390/systems5010010 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Open AccessArticle
A Hierarchal Risk Assessment Model Using the Evidential Reasoning Rule
Systems 2017, 5(1), 9; doi:10.3390/systems5010009 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

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 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Temporal Modeling of Neural Net Input/Output Behaviors: The Case of XOR
Systems 2017, 5(1), 7; doi:10.3390/systems5010007 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

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 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

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 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

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 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
System-of-Systems Design Thinking on Behavior
Systems 2017, 5(1), 3; doi:10.3390/systems5010003 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Systems in 2016
Systems 2017, 5(1), 2; doi:10.3390/systems5010002 -
Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Users’ Approach to ICT Platforms in the City Management
Systems 2017, 5(1), 1; doi:10.3390/systems5010001 -
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
[...] Read more.
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
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Causal Analysis of Databases Concerning Electromagnetism and Health
Systems 2016, 4(4), 39; doi:10.3390/systems4040039 -
Abstract
In this article, we conducted a causal analysis of a system extracted from a database of current data in the telecommunications domain, namely the Eurobarometer 73.3 database arose from a survey of 26,602 citizens EU on the potential health effects that electromagnetic fields
[...] Read more.
In this article, we conducted a causal analysis of a system extracted from a database of current data in the telecommunications domain, namely the Eurobarometer 73.3 database arose from a survey of 26,602 citizens EU on the potential health effects that electromagnetic fields can produce. To determine the cause-effect relationships between variables, we represented these data by a directed graph that can be applied to a qualitative version of the theory of discrete chaos to highlight causal circuits and attractors, as these are basic elements of system behavior. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Designing Computer-Supported Complex Systems Curricula for the Next Generation Science Standards in High School Science Classrooms
Systems 2016, 4(4), 38; doi:10.3390/systems4040038 -
Abstract
We present a curriculum and instruction framework for computer-supported teaching and learning about complex systems in high school science classrooms. This work responds to a need in K-12 science education research and practice for the articulation of design features for classroom instruction that
[...] Read more.
We present a curriculum and instruction framework for computer-supported teaching and learning about complex systems in high school science classrooms. This work responds to a need in K-12 science education research and practice for the articulation of design features for classroom instruction that can address the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) recently launched in the USA. We outline the features of the framework, including curricular relevance, cognitively rich pedagogies, computational tools for teaching and learning, and the development of content expertise, and provide examples of how the framework is translated into practice. We follow this up with evidence from a preliminary study conducted with 10 teachers and 361 students, aimed at understanding the extent to which students learned from the activities. Results demonstrated gains in students’ complex systems understanding and biology content knowledge. In interviews, students identified influences of various aspects of the curriculum and instruction framework on their learning. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Decoding the XXI Century’s Marketing Shift: An Agency Theory Framework
Systems 2016, 4(4), 35; doi:10.3390/systems4040035 -
Abstract
Since the beginning of the XXI century, marketing theory has moved through a series of epistemological shifts from modern positivism to postmodern constructivism. This has resulted in a series of changes to the main concepts of “traditional” marketing such as: market, product, customer,
[...] Read more.
Since the beginning of the XXI century, marketing theory has moved through a series of epistemological shifts from modern positivism to postmodern constructivism. This has resulted in a series of changes to the main concepts of “traditional” marketing such as: market, product, customer, and value. These shifts can be better viewed under a social cybernetics approach such as agency theory. This is because there is now a view that the linear concept of value creation needs to give way to the more complex process of value cocreation, where value is created collectively. Agency theory is one approach that is able to shed light on how customers and providers are able to recursively create collective value during interaction in a market. The theoretical framework provided here is able to provide improved understanding of the interactions betfween (and among) customers and providers in the value cocreation process. In this theory, value cocreation is depicted as an interactive process between a set of “living system” agencies (providers and customers) in a given market arena. The framework can be an effective tool for the managers involved in marketing to contribute to providers’ policies by supplying a clearer portrait of the systemic relations involved in the value cocreation dynamics. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCommunication
Visual Analysis of Nonlinear Dynamical Systems: Chaos, Fractals, Self-Similarity and the Limits of Prediction
Systems 2016, 4(4), 37; doi:10.3390/systems4040037 -
Abstract
Nearly all nontrivial real-world systems are nonlinear dynamical systems. Chaos describes certain nonlinear dynamical systems that have a very sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Chaotic systems are always deterministic and may be very simple, yet they produce completely unpredictable and divergent behavior. Systems
[...] Read more.
Nearly all nontrivial real-world systems are nonlinear dynamical systems. Chaos describes certain nonlinear dynamical systems that have a very sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Chaotic systems are always deterministic and may be very simple, yet they produce completely unpredictable and divergent behavior. Systems of nonlinear equations are difficult to solve analytically, and scientists have relied heavily on visual and qualitative approaches to discover and analyze the dynamics of nonlinearity. Indeed, few fields have drawn as heavily from visualization methods for their seminal innovations: from strange attractors, to bifurcation diagrams, to cobweb plots, to phase diagrams and embedding. Although the social sciences are increasingly studying these types of systems, seminal concepts remain murky or loosely adopted. This article has three aims. First, it argues for several visualization methods to critically analyze and understand the behavior of nonlinear dynamical systems. Second, it uses these visualizations to introduce the foundations of nonlinear dynamics, chaos, fractals, self-similarity and the limits of prediction. Finally, it presents Pynamical, an open-source Python package to easily visualize and explore nonlinear dynamical systems’ behavior. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Thinking Tracks for Multidisciplinary System Design
Systems 2016, 4(4), 36; doi:10.3390/systems4040036 -
Abstract
Systems engineering is, for a large part, a process description of how to bring new systems to existence. It is valuable as it directs the development effort. Tools exist that can be used in this process. System analysis investigates existing and/or desired situations.
[...] Read more.
Systems engineering is, for a large part, a process description of how to bring new systems to existence. It is valuable as it directs the development effort. Tools exist that can be used in this process. System analysis investigates existing and/or desired situations. However, how to create a system that instantiates the desired situation depends significantly on human creativity and insight; the required human trait here is commonly called systems thinking. In literature, this trait is regularly used, but information on how to do systems thinking is scarce. Therefore, we have introduced earlier twelve thinking tracks that are concrete and help system designers to make an optimal fit between the system under design, the identified issue, the user, the environment and the rest of the world. The paper provides the scientific rationale for the thinking tracks based on literature. Secondly, the paper presents three cases of application, leading to the conclusion that the tracks are usable and effective. Full article
Figures

Figure 1