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Thread: Define a "System"

  1. #1 Define a "System" 
    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    How would you define a "system"


    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    I know in chemistry it's the thing that you're studying, such as the reaction in question. It's a term usually used w/ equilibrium reactions and calorimetry.


    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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  4. #3  
    Time Lord
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    I want to take a shot at this one, but goodness. That is one of those really good questions, like the ones that really make you deconstruct.

    Any time multiple objects are interacting in a perpetual way, that interaction is a system. Or maybe it's the way they interact that's the system. I'm mostly just taking a shot at this. Maybe someone else can develop the idea further, or propose a new one?
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  5. #4  
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    I would start with a standard dictionary defintion and take it from there.

    Take your pick:

    1. complex whole formed from related parts: a combination of related parts organized into a complex whole
    a social system

    2. set of principles: a scheme of ideas or principles by which something is organized
    the democratic system
    the metric system

    3. way of proceeding: a method or set of procedures for achieving something
    I have worked out a system for identifying likely failures.

    4. orderliness: the use or result of careful planning and organization
    There doesn't seem to be any system in his working methods.

    5. established social organization: the established social order, especially when regarded as oppressive
    You can't beat the system.

    6. whole body: the human or animal body as a unit
    foods that are not good for the system

    7. group of related body parts: a set of organs or structures in the body that have a common function
    the nervous system

    8. comput set of computer components: an assembly of computer hardware, software, and peripherals functioning together
    The system's down again.

    9. engineering assembly of components: an assembly of mechanical or electronic components that function together as a unit
    10. transportation transport network: a physical network of roads, railways, and other routes for travel, transport, or communication
    11. astronomy group of astronomical objects: a group of astronomical objects or other gravitationally linked objects
    12. minerals mineral classification: a division used in the classification of minerals according to their crystal structures
    13. geology classification of rocks according to date: a division of rocks larger than a series but smaller than a stage, used to distinguish formations of a specific era or period
    14. science assembly of substances in equilibrium: an assembly of substances in chemical or physical equilibrium
    15. music group of musical staves: a number of musical staves that are grouped together by a line or brace in a score and are played simultaneously

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  6. #5  
    Forum Freshman wonkothesane's Avatar
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    Ok, I'll have a go and maybe others can reject it, add to it, change it etc

    System: A group of entities (objects or abstractions), each of which interacts with at least one other entity in the group to carry out a process in which the total energy is conserved.

    Actually I guess this is a "closed system". An open system would include a model for energy transfer to/from an environment.
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  7. #6  
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    A neat definition, wonkothesane, but doesn't it describe 'isolated' system rather than a 'closed' system?
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  8. #7  
    Forum Freshman wonkothesane's Avatar
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    A neat definition, wonkothesane, but doesn't it describe 'isolated' system rather than a 'closed' system?
    I just looked on wikipedia and it seems you're right. I'd heard of open and closed systems but didn't know there was a further distinction between isolated and closed.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Ph.D. Steve Miller's Avatar
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    I found on Google. Or, do you want a personal definition (wasn't that a bit venturesome )?

    Anyway, I found a system being something trying out itself constantly and so adventuring
    forward. A system we (will ) demonstrate in nature only.

    Not a definition btw. rather my description of the word term.

    An interesting question to come up!

    Steve
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