Systems Evolution in Modern Systems Research and a Formal Model for Evolving Systems

  • S.-J. Gao
  • F. J. Charlwood


Although the study of systems evolution originated in early 60’s as a discussion of self-organizing systems (von Foerster 1960; Ashby, 1962), it gained general awareness and became a defined research field in systems science only after the Brussel school’s work in non-equilibrium thermodynamics in the later 70’s and early 80’s (Nicolis et. al, 1977, Prigogine, 1980). Over the past 10 years, much work has been done and many papers published in the study of progressive change of systems, i.e. systems evolution, although much of the work may be under the heading of “self-organization” in systems which is regarded as a specific manifestation of evolutionary process. Among the more important work are Prigogine’s “Dissipative Structure Theory” (Nicolis, 1977, 1989; Prigogine 1980; Prigogine et. al, 1984), Haken’s “Synergetics” (Haken, 1983a, 1983b, 1988), Eigen’s “Hypercycle” (Eigen et. al, 1977, 1978a, 1978b), the study of “Cellular Automata” (Wolfram, 1983, 1984), and above all, the synthesis of thermodynamics and Darwin’s theory of evolution (Weber et. al, 1988, Wicken, 1987). It is a real multi- and inter-disciplinary study and this is consistent with the spirit of systems research. It has been argued that systems evolution has become a new chapter of general systems theory (Jdanko, 1987).


Cellular Automaton Chaotic Attractor Dynamical System Theory Point Attractor Periodic Attractor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • S.-J. Gao
    • 1
  • F. J. Charlwood
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Systems ScienceCity UniversityLondonEngland

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