Chapter 2. What Is a System?

2.1. System Characteristics

We often hear and use terms such as “system,” “system approach,” and “system concept,” but what do they mean, and how can an understanding of them help us develop better systems? To understand system problems and how to approach them, we must understand what a system is. In this chapter, we discuss these issues, and we establish which subset of the huge variety of systems is of interest to us.

2.1.1. Introduction to Systems

Attempts to define “system” usually end up encompassing just about everything in the universe. The problem is that the universe itself is a system, so is an atom, and so are most things in between. In the most general sense, a system is simply any organized set of ...

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