System (from Latin systēma, in turn from Greek σύστημα systēma) is a set of interacting or interdependent entities, real or abstract, forming an integrated whole.
The concept of an 'integrated whole' can also be stated in terms of a system embodying a set of relationships which are differentiated from relationships of the set to other elements, and from relationships between an element of the set and elements not a part of the relational regime.
The scientific research field which is engaged in the study of the general properties of systems include systems theory, systems science, systemics and systems engineering. They investigate the abstract properties of the matter and organization, searching concepts and principles which are independent of the specific domain, substance, type, or temporal scales of existence.
Most systems share the same common characteristics. These common characteristics include the following
- Systems are abstractions of reality.
- Systems have structure which is defined by its parts and their composition.
- Systems have behavior, which involves inputs, processing and outputs of material, information or energy.
- Systems have interconnectivity, the various parts of a system have functional as well as structural relationships between each other.
- Alexander Backlund (2000). "The definition of system". In: Kybernetes Vol. 29 nr. 4, pp. 444-451.
- Kenneth D. Bailey (1994). Sociology and the New Systems Theory: Toward a Theoretical Synthesis. New York: State of New York Press.
- Bela H. Banathy (1997). "A Taste of Systemics", ISSS The Primer Project.
- Walter F. Buckley (1967). Sociology and Modern Systems Theory, New Jersey: Englewood Cliffs.
- Peter Checkland (1997). Systems Thinking, Systems Practice. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
- Robert L. Flood (1999). Rethinking the Fifth Discipline: Learning within the unknowable. London: Routledge.
- George J. Klir (1969). Approach to General Systems Theory, 1969.