Special Issue "Second Generation General System Theory: Perspectives in Philosophy and Approaches in Complex Systems"

A special issue of Systems (ISSN 2079-8954).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2016)

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Professor Gianfranco Minati

Italian Systems Society (AIRS) President and Doctoral Lecturer on Systems Science, Department Building Environment Sciences and Technology, Polytechnic University of Milan, Via Pellegrino Rossi, 42 20161 Milan, Italy
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Interests: theoretical issues on systems science, such as logical openness; collective behavior; emergence; dynamic usage of models; meta-structures; multiple-systems; architecture and design as the design of meta-structures to influence emergence in social systems; managerial culture consistent with the science of complexity
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Eliano Pessa

Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Pavia, Piazza Botta, 11, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39-0382986276
Interests: neural networks; artificial intelligence; quantum field theory; general relativity; quantum computation; general systems theory; mathematical modeling of self-organizing systems; computational neuroscience; quantum models of memory; human long-term memory; human visual perception; games theory and economic behavior
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Ignazio Licata

1. ISEM Institute for Scientific Methodology, Via Ugo La Malfa, 153, 90146 Palermo, Italy
2. School of Advanced International Studies on Applied Theoretical and Non Linear Methodologies of Physics, 70121 Bari, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: foundation of quantum theories; quantum cosmology; de sitter holographic models; dissipative quantum field theories; physics of emergence and organization; fisher information; sub and super turing computation models

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

After the classical work of Norbert Wiener, Ross Ashby, Ludwig von Bertalanffy and many others, the concept of System has been elaborated in different disciplinary fields, allowing interdisciplinary approaches like in Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Cognitive Science, Economics, Education, Engineering, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Medicine, Artificial Intelligence, Philosophy, and Simulation Science.

The new challenge of Complexity and Emergence has made it even more relevant to the study of systemic aspects with high contextuality.

This conceptual shift on System concepts runs through the entire area of natural philosophy and epistemology, and requests the questioning of old and new science words in a new conceptual archipelago.

In his essay "American Lessons" (1985) the Italian writer Italo Calvino proposed six key words for the new millennium:

  • Lightness
  • Quickness
  • Exactitude
  • Visibility
  • Multiplicity
  • Consistency/ coherence

We think that these words, with other that the contributors will suggest, can be the basis of a possible dictionary of complexity sciences.

This special issue will focus on the nature of new problems, their eventually common aspects, properties and approaches partially already considered by different disciplines, and on new possibly unitary theoretical frameworks. In particular, this issue is devoted also to the philosophical and structural aspects of the complexity and emergence theories.

Examples of topics are: Artificial Intelligence and Simulation; Catastrophe theory; Causality and Chance in Modern Science; Chaos Theory; Cognitive Sciences; Control theory; Cybernetics; Decision theories; Dissipative Structures; Games Theory; Laws and Boundary Conditions in Complex Systems; Network Science; Probability Theories; Quantum-Like Systems; Sub- and Hyper-Computation Theories; Systems Biology.

Contributors are invited to present cases, proposals, approaches, models and theoretical frameworks to deal with such topics, for academic and disciplinary applications.

Prof. Gianfranco Minati
Prof. Eliano Pessa
Prof. Dr. Ignazio Licata
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Systems is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Automata
  • Change
  • Coherence
  • Computation
  • Emergence
  • Entanglement
  • Entropy
  • Forecast
  • Fuzziness
  • Growth
  • Hypercomputation
  • Incompleteness/Completeness
  • Information
  • Irreversibility
  • Meta-structures
  • Non-linearity
  • Optimisation
  • Planning
  • Power Laws
  • Predictive, Preventive, Personalized and Participatory Medicine
  • Quantum-Like Systems
  • Probability
  • Scale invariance
  • Self-organisation
  • Uncertainty
  • Uniqueness

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Reaction Networks as a Language for Systemic Modeling: On the Study of Structural Changes
Systems 2017, 5(2), 30; doi:10.3390/systems5020030
Received: 18 November 2016 / Revised: 22 March 2017 / Accepted: 23 March 2017 / Published: 31 March 2017
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Abstract
Reaction Networks have been recently proposed as a framework for systems modeling due to its capability to describe many entities interacting in contextual ways and leading to the emergence of meta-structures. Since systems can be subjected to structural changes that not only alter
[...] Read more.
Reaction Networks have been recently proposed as a framework for systems modeling due to its capability to describe many entities interacting in contextual ways and leading to the emergence of meta-structures. Since systems can be subjected to structural changes that not only alter their inner functioning, but also their underlying ontological features, a crucial issue is how to address these structural changes within a formal representational framework. When modeling systems using reaction networks, we find that three fundamentally different types of structural change are possible. The first corresponds to the usual notion of perturbation in dynamical systems, i.e., change in system’s state. The second corresponds to behavioral changes, i.e., changes not in the state of the system but on the properties of its behavioral rules. The third corresponds to radical structural changes, i.e., changes in the state-set structure and/or in reaction-set structure. In this article, we describe in detail the three types of structural changes that can occur in a reaction network, and how these changes relate to changes in the systems observable within this reaction network. In particular, we develop a decomposition theorem to partition a reaction network as a collection of dynamically independent modules, and show how such decomposition allows for precisely identifying the parts of the reaction network that are affected by a structural change. Full article
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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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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
[...] Read more.
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 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
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (496 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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
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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 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
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5198 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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 Emergence at the Fundamental Systems Level: Existence Conditions for Iterative Specifications
Systems 2016, 4(4), 34; doi:10.3390/systems4040034
Received: 17 August 2016 / Revised: 30 September 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
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Abstract
Conditions under which compositions of component systems form a well-defined system-of-systems are here formulated at a fundamental level. Statement of what defines a well-defined composition and sufficient conditions guaranteeing such a result offers insight into exemplars that can be found in special cases
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Conditions under which compositions of component systems form a well-defined system-of-systems are here formulated at a fundamental level. Statement of what defines a well-defined composition and sufficient conditions guaranteeing such a result offers insight into exemplars that can be found in special cases such as differential equation and discrete event systems. For any given global state of a composition, two requirements can be stated informally as: (1) the system can leave this state, i.e., there is at least one trajectory defined that starts from the state; and (2) the trajectory evolves over time without getting stuck at a point in time. Considered for every global state, these conditions determine whether the resultant is a well-defined system and, if so, whether it is non-deterministic or deterministic. We formulate these questions within the framework of iterative specifications for mathematical system models that are shown to be behaviorally equivalent to the Discrete Event System Specification (DEVS) formalism. This formalization supports definitions and proofs of the afore-mentioned conditions. Implications are drawn at the fundamental level of existence where the emergence of a system from an assemblage of components can be characterized. We focus on systems with feedback coupling where existence and uniqueness of solutions is problematic. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Building the Observer into the System: Toward a Realistic Description of Human Interaction with the World
Systems 2016, 4(4), 32; doi:10.3390/systems4040032
Received: 26 July 2016 / Revised: 14 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (513 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Human beings do not observe the world from the outside, but rather are fully embedded in it. The sciences, however, often give the observer both a “god’s eye” perspective and substantial a priori knowledge. Motivated by W. Ross Ashby’s statement, “the theory of
[...] Read more.
Human beings do not observe the world from the outside, but rather are fully embedded in it. The sciences, however, often give the observer both a “god’s eye” perspective and substantial a priori knowledge. Motivated by W. Ross Ashby’s statement, “the theory of the Black Box is merely the theory of real objects or systems, when close attention is given to the question, relating object and observer, about what information comes from the object, and how it is obtained” (Introduction to Cybernetics, 1956, p. 110), I develop here an alternate picture of the world as a black box to which the observer is coupled. Within this framework I prove purely-classical analogs of the “no-go” theorems of quantum theory. Focussing on the question of identifying macroscopic objects, such as laboratory apparatus or even other observers, I show that the standard quantum formalism of superposition is required to adequately represent the classical information that an observer can obtain. I relate these results to supporting considerations from evolutionary biology, cognitive and developmental psychology, and artificial intelligence. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Knowledge to Manage the Knowledge Society: The Concept of Theoretical Incompleteness
Systems 2016, 4(3), 26; doi:10.3390/systems4030026
Received: 23 May 2016 / Revised: 7 July 2016 / Accepted: 11 July 2016 / Published: 15 July 2016
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Abstract
After having outlined the essential differences between non-complex systems and complex systems we briefly recall the conceptual approaches considered by the pre-complexity General Systems Theory introduced by Von Bertalanffy in 1968 and those of the science of complexity and post-Bertalanffy General Systems Theory.
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After having outlined the essential differences between non-complex systems and complex systems we briefly recall the conceptual approaches considered by the pre-complexity General Systems Theory introduced by Von Bertalanffy in 1968 and those of the science of complexity and post-Bertalanffy General Systems Theory. In this context, after outlining the concept of completeness, we consider cases of incompleteness in various disciplines to arrive at theoretical incompleteness. The latter is clarified through several cases of different natures and by approaches in the literature, such as logical openness, the Dynamic Usage of Models (DYSAM), and the principle of uncertainty in physics. The treatment and the contrast between completeness and incompleteness are introduced as a conceptual and cultural context, as knowledge to manage the knowledge society in analogy, for example, with the transition from the logic of certainty to that of uncertainty introduced by De Finetti. The conceptual framework of completeness is not appropriate for dealing with complexity. Conversely, the conceptual framework of incompleteness is consistent and appropriate with interdisciplinary complexity. Full article
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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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