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Modeling and Visualization of Complex Systems and Enterprises: Explorations of Physical, Human, Economic, and Social Phenomena by William B. Rouse

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Chapter 1INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

Addressing complex systems such as health-care delivery, sustainable energy, financial systems, urban infrastructures, and national security requires knowledge and skills from many disciplines, including systems science and engineering, behavioral and social science, policy and political science, economics and finance, and so on. These disciplines have a wide variety of views of the essential phenomena underlying such complex systems. Great difficulties are frequently encountered when interdisciplinary teams attempt to bridge and integrate these often-disparate views.

This book is intended to be a valuable guide to all the disciplines involved in such endeavors. The central construct in this guide is the notion of phenomena, particularly the essential phenomena that different disciplines address in complex systems. Phenomena are observed or observable events or chains of events. Examples include the weather, climate change, traffic congestion, aggressive behaviors, and cultural compliance. A team asked to propose policies to address the problem of overly aggressive motorist behaviors during inclement weather in the evening rush hour might have to consider the full range of these phenomena.

Traditionally, such problems would be decomposed into their constituent phenomena, appropriate disciplines would each be assigned one piece of the puzzle, and each disciplinary team would return from their deliberations with insights into their assigned phenomena ...

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