Behavior: System Dynamics

  • George E. Mobus
  • Michael C. Kalton
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


Systems are never still. Even a rock weathers and often changes chemically over long enough time scales. Systems are dynamic, which means they have behavior. In this chapter we explore the dynamic properties of systems from a number of perspectives. Systems as a whole behave in their environments. But systems contain active components that also behave internally relative to one another. We look at a myriad of characteristics of system dynamics to understand this important principle. A key concept that pertains to system dynamics is that of energy flow and work. Every physical change involves the accomplishment of work, which requires the use of energy. The laws of thermodynamics come into play in a central way in systems science.


Energy Input Chaotic System Energy Flow Heat Engine Complex Adaptive System 
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Bibliography and Further Reading

  1. Bak P (1966) How nature works: the science of self-organized criticality. Copernicus, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  2. Ford A (2010) Modeling the environment. Island Press, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  3. Gleick J (1987) Chaos: making a new science. Penguin, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  4. Hall CAS, Klitgaard K (2012) Energy and the wealth of nations. Springer, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  5. Harold FM (2001) The way of the cell: molecules, organisms, and the order of life. Oxford University Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  6. Mobus GE, Fisher P (1999) Foraging search at the edge of chaos. In: Levine D et al (eds) Oscillations in neural networks. Lawerence Erlbaum & Associates, Mahwah, NJGoogle Scholar
  7. Nowak MA (2006) Evolutionary dynamics: exploring the equations of life. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  8. Primack JR, Abrams NE (2006) The view from the center of the universe. Riverhead Books, New York, NYGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • George E. Mobus
    • 1
  • Michael C. Kalton
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty in Computer Science & Systems, Computer Engineering & Systems Institute of TechnologyUniversity of Washington TacomaTacomaUSA
  2. 2.Faculty in Interdisciplinary Arts & SciencesUniversity of Washington TacomaTacomaUSA

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