What is a system? It is easier to say what is not a system. A system is nothing more than a collection of interrelated or interacting elements which, as a whole, act in accordance to a specific set of rules to form an unifying whole. A system, influenced and bounded by its surroundings, is defined by its structure, boundaries and aim and described in its working. Systems are thus the objects of research of systems theory. In order to understand what is a system one must take into consideration its parts and their functions, their interactions and their relationship with each other.
Parts of what is a system may be considered as parts of the solar system. The Sun, for example, comprises the atomic nucleus of helium, magnesium, iron, sodium, bromine, water, neon, oxygen, sulfur, silicon, phosphorus, iron-gene and nitrogen. These elements cooperate to give light, heat and the energy which is required to maintain the Earth’s climate. The gravitational field of the Earth helps to keep the planets and heavenly bodies in formation.
Interactions among the elements in the system are also taken into account. The Sun, for example, attracts light from the ultra violet rays and the infrared radiation coming from space and heats the water in the ocean through its surface. Water, in turn, vaporizes and is taken up into the atmosphere through clouds. All of these components constitute the Earth’s climate, which is known as a system.
There are two further classifications of what is a system: biological and nonbiological. Biologists, for example, study systems as reproductive processes. They divide ecosystems into vegetative and nonvegetative systems. Non-biological systems, on the other hand, are those that are described by ecological relationships.
Every living thing has both a biological and an external factors contributing to its existence. Bacteria, for instance, need bacteria, protozoa, enzymes, and other living organisms to regulate their development. Plants, too, grow using chemicals, sunlight, wind and other external factors. All forms of life need an organism that can complete their metabolic functions. In this case, they would be considered biological systems.
On the other hand, the definition of an ecological system includes both the processes and the materials involved in the reproduction of the system. A production-oriented system will produce its desired output when appropriate inputs are present. This could be nutrients, heat, light, or energy. An energy-efficient system will only utilize inputs that are necessary for its continued operation.
In terms of physical systems, a system is considered to be physical if it can be seen, touched, or smelled. However, what is important to note is that a physical system cannot be said to be made up of its components. A chemical system for instance, must be mixed with various components in order for its output to be produced.
The process of reproduction of living organisms, on the other hand, is not considered to be an ecological system. In this case, it is the chemical processes that bring about the creation of living organisms. Therefore, when dealing with chemical reactions, one should not think of the result as being “the” product of these reactions, but the sum of all the individual results. In most cases, there must be a balance among the components produced in order for the desired results to be achieved. In any case, the end result is what is called a living system.
Another way of looking at this would be to checkland. A landmine, by definition, is a physical device that destroys something very important without leaving any survivors. However, there are many different types of landmines, and each has its own set of characteristics. A landmine could be a device that destroys a large number of items, or it could be a very precise device that destroys a specific item. Therefore, it is necessary to determine whether the landmine exists in a physical, abstract form or a natural systems one. Natural systems are very important to understand, because they are the simplest in their functions and the least prone to outside interferences.
One way of understanding natural systems is to consider a closed looping system. Let’s use the hydrophobic bacteria as an example. If there are no inputs or outputs, how will the system continue to exist? If no one adds water, does it die out? The answer of course is no, the system will continue to exist by being self-sustaining, by using energy from internal energy sources, and by using the total area of the environment as inputs and outputs.
Now, when we examine what is a system, we find that it is a system of interdependent components interacting with one another according to some overall goal. Each component has a specific function, but together they will create a functioning system. So, if we want to know what is a system, we have to ask first what each component can do and what effect each will have on the whole. Each output has an effect on every input and each component has an effect on every output. Therefore, all things are connected, and everything is interdependent.