Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2012, San Jose, CA, USA, 56th Annual Proceedings of ISSS

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SPT I.: IDENTIFYING FUNDAMENTAL SYSTEMS PROCESSES FOR A GENERAL THEORY OF SYSTEMS

Len Troncale

Abstract


This paper is one of a series that further develops the System of Systems Processes Theory (SoSPT) which is an attempt at unification of the results of a wide range of systems theories and natural science experiments to enable development of a true “science” of systems. The central purpose of the SoSPT is to achieve a very detailed description of “how systems work.” In this paper we explain our work of identifying fundamental systems processes found in some form in many systems. We explain why we focus on isomorphic processes as a practical and useful framework for unifying diverse systems theories at the necessary abstraction level for a general theory.  We begin with a definition of “process” in general and distinguish this from a “systems-level” process. We present arguments and evidence that support the position that systems-level processes are fundamental to the origin and maintenance of systems of all kinds and thus important for synthesizing the very fragmented systems literature. We argue that the natural science literature (e.g. astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, biology, mathematics, computer science) constitutes studies of real, successful systems by the scientific method and so also are a key source that must be integrated with the synthesized systems literature to achieve a unified “science” of systems. Earlier versions of SoSPT presented ~110 systems processes. Here we introduce some of arguments used to determine if a candidate system process remained on the list or not to reduce the list to a more manageable 55 candidate systems processes. As examples of this procedure, we cover sixteen specific, individual, surviving candidate systems processes to illustrate the arguments used to decide whether or not to include each on the list. This is a work in progress and the list will continue to change as the concept of system processes is further examined and understood and new SPs are discovered and elucidated. It is important to note that this is a recursive process because puzzling over the candidate systems-level processes will discipline our definitions and criteria for recognizing new and judging current candidate systems processes. The paper concludes with insights gained from this effort and with a projection of work yet to be completed for a true “science” of systems to emerge.

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