Uncertainty and information: Emergence of Vast New Territories


George J. Klir


Department of Systems Science & Industrial Engineering

Binghamton University - State University of New York

Binghamton, New York 13902, USA






Interactions  between  systems


Mario Abram

CESI S.p.A. - Centro Elettrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano

Via Rubattino, 54 - 20134 Milano, Italy




Using a decomposition methodology, it is possible to investigate the interactions between the subsystems of a system. After a definition of interaction, the possible hierarchic structures emerging from a decomposition process are investigated.

The decomposition process may be interpreted and used as an investigation process or as a design process; in these cases a hierarchic structures can emerge naturally from the decomposition or can be settled as a design requirement.

These ideas are useful to develop the preliminary analysis of the interactions between the subsystems involved in the design of the control apparatus for an industrial power plant: the human operator, the control functions, the safety functions, the plant and the environment.





Logic and Context in Schizophrenia


Pier Luca Bandinelli*, Carlo Palma°, Maria Pietronilla Penna#, Eliano Pessa^


*Dipartimento  di  Salute  Mentale  ASL  Roma  “E”.  Servizio  Psichiatrico  di Diagnosi e Cura c/o 

  Azienda Complesso Ospedaliero S. Filippo Neri. Via G. Martinotti 20, 00135 Roma, Italy.

  e-mail:  pluc.band@libero.it


° Istituto d’Istruzione Superiore Via Cesare Lombroso 120, 00168, Roma, Italy

  e-mail: briciola.02@tiscali.it


# Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Facoltà di Scienze della Formazione. Località sa Duchessa, Via  

   IS Mirrionis 1 – 09123, Cagliari, Italy

   e-mail: maria.pietronilla@unica.it


^Università  degli  Studi  di  Pavia, Dipartimento  di   Filosofia  e  Psicologia .  Piazza  Botta , 6   

  (Palazzo S. Felice) 27100, Pavia, Italy





In this paper the authors analyze the pattern of reasoning in schizophrenia, according to proof theory. In particular they consider the clinical form of  “organized” (paranoid subtype) and “disorganized” schizophrenia.

In the first form they focusing on the conservation and an “excess” of the use of  standard inference rules that formalize certain logical modes of reasoning, but also the incorrect use of premises not context sensitive.

The authors also suggest that in disorganized subtype the inference rules are not derived from a tautological proposition, but the patient use non-standard inference rules like assonance, analogy and metaphor, relative to a particular focalized and pervasive mental state.  In these case the premises and conclusion of reasoning are represented by a formalized logic expression that can loose the characteristic of tautological form, and are “invented” new inference rules that can cause a contradiction in standard mode of reasoning.





Autopoiesis and emergence

Leonardo Bich


Dipartimento di Psicologia, Università di Pavia, Piazza Botta 6, 27100 Pavia, Italy, e-mail: leobich@libero.it




Autopoietic theory is more than a mere characterization of the living, as it can be applied to a wider class of systems and involves both organizational and epistemological aspects. In this paper we assert the necessity of considering the relation between autopoiesis and emergence, focusing on the crucial importance of the observer’s activity and demonstrating that autopoietic systems can be considered intrinsically emergent processes. From the attempts to conceptualize emergence, especially Rosen’s, autopoiesis stands out for its attention to the unitary character of systems and to emergent levels, both inseparable from the observer’s operations. These aspects are the basis of  Varela’s approach to multiple level relationships, considered as descriptive complementarities.


Key words: autopoiesis; emergence; observer; descriptive complementarity; Robert Rosen; Francisco Varela.




System identity and autonomy of an international research team:

a case study in self-observation


Lucio Biggiero


Università dell’Aquila

Dipartimento di Sistemi e Istituzioni per l’Economia

Piazza del Santuario, 19

67090 Roio Poggio (AQ)

Tel. +390862 434861; Fax. +390862 434842

Email: biggiero@ec.univaq.it


LUISS University

Viale Pola, 12 - 00198 – Rome - Italy

tel. +3906 86506781/555; fax. +3906 86506547

e-mail: lbiggier@luiss.it




Although at the core of systems theorizing, the concepts of system identity and autonomy are still lacking remarkable empirical tests. Both the system’s characteristics come from recursive self-organizing and self-referential processes. In the case of human systems, they are mainly based on self-observation. This property takes place through cognitive and communication patterns. The present paper analyzes the COMMORG case, an international research team, which, besides the formal identity given by the European Union administration, built up its own identity and autonomy during its working life. The COMMORG system was able to develop its self-observation through three different methodological tools, which show the structure and evolution of the communication patterns forging its identity and autonomy. The use of an emailing list revealed as the central means of communication, enough to build system identity of a (virtual) international research team. The system identity, the communication patterns, and the semiotic patterns are recursively related to structural aspects, and change over time.


Keywords: autonomy, email, emailing list analysis, genre repertoire, international research team, organization, research methodologies, second-order cybernetics, self-observation, self-organization, self-reference, system identity.





Uncertainty and the role of the observer


Giordano Bruno*, Gianfranco Minati**, Alberto Trotta***


*Dip. Memomat-Fac. Ingegneria

Univ. "La Sapienza"

Via A. Scarpa 16, 00161 Roma

tel. 0039-6-49766876

fax  0039-6-49766870



**Italian Systems Society, president, www.airs.it Via P. Rossi, 42  20161-Milano MI  ITALY  Tel./Fax: +39-2-66202417Email: gianfranco.minati@AIRS.it    http://www.geocities.com/lminati/gminati/index.html


***ITC Nettuno



Probability doesn't exist!

-Bruno de Finetti-




The paradigms that increasingly serve as guides for scientific inquiry and epistemological reflection are chaos and complexity, which if not the only paradigms, are certainly the main ones.

In the twentieth century a view of nature and the world began to be adopted that resembled less and less the view that had held sway for previous centuries.  An explanation of phenomena had to provide (deterministic) laws encompassing them; it was in this way that things progressed in all so-called scientific fields.  These laws, in order to be considered as such, necessarily had to be objective, that is to say, independent of the observer, of the researcher or, better yet, had to be valid for all observers.

Chaos and complexity are showing us that it is not all so easy, that within systems (even those that aren't especially complicated) certain regularities continue to hold and that predicting their behaviour is not a simple matter of solving differential equations, but that at most one can use stochastic-like techniques.  The disorder underlying the reality that we generally tend to consider as being ordered has become the source of new knowledge and a new way of thinking about and interpreting the world.  The passage from ordered systems to disordered systems is based on the recognition that uncertainty prevails in the latter, in the sense that, while for the former we can say that once the state at time t is known it's possible to establish a priori the state at time t+1, the same does not hold for disordered systems.

For the latter, we can only make predictions by calculating, for example, the probability that the system enters state i+1 at time t+1, assuming that at time t it was in state i.  

Dealing with uncertainty thus takes on a primary role.  Even in this area, however, science, which is still dominated by the need to provide objectively valid answers-if not truths-has developed a number of methods and techniques of a statistical-probabilistic nature, and has identified a number of statistical-probabilistic models that claim in some way to represent and describe phenomena exhibiting uncertainty.  In doing so, it gives the impression that these phenomena, by their nature, may be part of those models, and thus presents once again a kind of objective view of reality.  In contrast, the mathematician Bruno de Finetti's fundamental insight, expressed in his claim that the probability of an event is nothing more than the degree of believe a coherent individual has in the event's occurrence (based on his information about it), has brought to the forefront in this domain as well the observer's role (in this case, the individual who expresses his degree of believe), just as happens in modern theories of complex systems.

In this article we will show by way of examples how the subjective view of probability has a systemic validity, in that the individual who evaluates a probability, the observer, plays an essential role in the emergence of a system of coherent probabilities (they are thus in no way independent of the observer).  We will also address the problem of teaching probability which, in our opinion, needs to be re-examined in order to help students acquire a language and logic of uncertainty, with the aim of making them accustomed to dealing with situations exhibiting uncertainty  and thus providing them a basis for making consistent, non-contradictory decisions.


Key words: Uncertainty, Information, Probability, Coherence, Systemics, Emergence.




Dynamics of strategy:

a feedback approach to corporate strategy-making


Vittorio Coda# and Edoardo Mollona§


#ISEA, Università Luigi Bocconi, Viale Isonzo, 23; 20135, Milano, Italy;

§Department of Computer Science, University of Bologna, Mura Anteo Zamboni, 7; 40127, Bologna, Italy.




The object of the article is a company’s strategic management processes. The aim is to propose a dynamic model to explain how a company’s realised strategy does emerge from interactions of purposes, tensions, and pressures dynamically interplaying. The paper contributes to strategy literature in two directions. First, we expect the model will be useful to management as a reference frame for understanding and efficiently governing a company strategy-making behaviour, both in cases in which the aim is to transform it radically, and when it is to be innovated by means of gradual evolutive change. Second, the model constitutes a set of hypotheses to orient further empirical and theoretical analysis.

The analysis which we conduct, examining theoretic contributions and empirical settings, is strongly influenced by the assumption that the subject of the strategic government of companies may benefit from a systemic approach which considers the dynamic interaction among the many processes which impact a company’s situation. Markedly, the strategic processes we focus on are the learning processes which lie at the origin of top management’s strategic intents and mental models; the managerial processes in which top management’s actions are made clear; the entrepreneurial behaviour both induced by top management or which develops autonomously. All these processes unfold in environmental contexts which are usually intensely changeable.



Key Words: Strategic and organisational change – Strategic Management – Organisational Complexity – Chaos.





Towards a systemic approach to architecture


Valerio Di Battista


Politecnico di Milano - Dipartimento Building Environment Science and Technology – BEST




The historical difficulty in defining architecture corresponds to the complexity and variety of the actions implied, to their multiple interests and meanings, to the different knowledge  and theories involved and to its great functional and cultural implications for human life and society. Vitruvius gave a notion of architecture as the emerging system of the main connections of firmitas, utilitas and venustas. A more recent and flexible definition is William Morris’s, who conceived architecture as something regarding “all the signs that mankind leaves on the Earth, except pure desert”. Today we could agreed on a definition of architecture as a whole of artifacts and signs that establish and define the human settlement. To explore its dimensions, performances, multiple values, we need a systemic approach allowing us to recognize and act more consciously in the whole of its variables.          


Key words: architecture; project; cognitive system   




Typical emergencies  in electric power systems


Umberto Di Caprio


Stability Analysis s.r.l.  , Via A. Doria 48/ a  MILANO ( I)




Typical emergencies capable to produce extended black-outs in large interconnected power systems, are set into evidence . The most  appropriate  control  actions are thoroughly discussed. A classification is proposed , in which one considers medium , heavy , extremely severe disturbances. The role of stability is pointed out , automatic load-shedding plans that expressely account for stability  are suggested .






Complexity  in  universe dynamic  evolution

Part 1:  Present  state and future evolution


Umberto  Di Caprio


Stability Analysis s.r.l. Via A. Doria 48/ A   20124 Milano ( I )




Recent experimental results gathered by spatial Telescopy Hubble  , from October 2003 , deeply modify our knowledge of Universe.They  give numerical estimates of fundamental quantities as "age of Universe "  , geometric form , radius, density of matter , expansion rate with  time  , birth of galaxies  , Hubble constant. We frame these results in a general theory that  explains present status  and , in addition  , forecasts future evolution, and extrapolates  past structure from time zero on  . We propose a simple solution of the problem of "missing mass "  and  point out existence of dark energy. Complexity enters the picture through formulation and testing of a two-body dynamic model in which visible Universe rotates around a central black-hole .Presentation is splitted in two parts , one dealing with present state and future evolution , the other with past evolution from time zero.




Explicit velocity for Modelling Surface Complex Flows

with Cellular Automata and Applications.


M. V. Avolio1,3, G. M. Crisci2,3, D. D’ambrosio1,3, S. Di Gregorio1,3, G. Iovine4,3, V. Lupiano4, R. Rongo2,3, W. Spataro1,3, G. A. Trunfio3


1Dept. of Mathematics, 2Dept. of Earth Sciences, 3Center of High-Performance Computing, University of Calabria, Arcavacata, 87036 Rende, CS, ITALY; 4CNR-IRPI, via Cavour, 87030 Rende, CS, ITALY




Fluid-dynamics is an important field of Cellular Automata applications, that give rise also to specialised models as lattice gas automata and lattice Boltzmann models. These models come up against difficulties for applications to large scale (kilometres) phenomena. Our research group Empedocles faces up to macroscopic phenomena concerning surface flows, developing an alternative strategy, that was significantly improved, introducing explicit velocities in own Cellular Automata models.

This paper illustrates the methodology with applications to lava flows, debris flows and pyroclastic flows.




A Cognitive Approach to Organizational Complexity


Guido Fioretti1 and Bauke Visser2


1Universita' di Bologna, Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Informazione, Mura Anteo Zamboni 7 40127 Bologna, fioretti@cs.unibo.it  2Department of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands, bvisser@few.eur.nl




Organizational theory has construed complexity as an objective characteristic of either the structure or the behaviour of an organization. We argue that in order to further our understanding complexity should be understood in terms of human cognition of a structure or behaviour. This cognitive twist is illustrated by means of two theoretical approaches, whose relationship is discussed.


KeyWords: organizational complexity; human cognition; objective property; cognitive map; detail of information.




Scale free graphs in dynamic knowledge acquisition


I. Licata1, G.Tascini2, L. Lella2, A.Montesanto2 and W. Giordano2


1Istituto di Cibernetica Non-Lineare per lo Studio dei Sistemi Complessi,via Favorita 9, Marsala(TP); 2Università Politecnica delle March, D.E.I.T.,Via Brecce Bianche, 60131,Ancona,Italy.




Classical representation forms are not suited to represent knowledge as human mind does. In tasks as discourse comprehension knowledge stuctures have to adapt themselves on the basis of  the objectives, the past experiences and the particular context. So we have developed a modular knowledge acquisition system based on cognitive criteria, that dynamically updates a representation by the use of a scale free graph model.


Key words: knowledge acquisition; dynamic representations; discourse analysis; scale free graphs.




General Systems Theory, Like-Quantum Semantics and Fuzzy Sets.


Ignazio Licata


Ist.Cibernetica Non-Lineare per i Sistemi Complessi,

via Favorita 9, 91025, Marsala(TP)- Italy.




It is  outlined the possibility to extend the quantum formalism in relation to the requirements of  the  general systems theory. It can be done by using the theory logical deep  structures which Birkhoff and von  Neumann have defined in their classical paper, and a fit definition of the observer notion. It is shown how considering the state vector within the context of the fuzzy sets is here more useful . In conclusion we propose some examples regarding the coherence and emergence concepts.




Personality and complex systems

an expanded view


Mauro Meleddu and Laura Francesca Scalas


Department of Psychology, University of Cagliari




Nowadays, dynamic S-P-R models, developed within personality research, seem to offer the chance for the development of a unitary research framework, one including individual and environmental factors, from both structural and dynamic levels of personality. Complexity concept is a fundamental element of convergence of the different existing theoretical and methodological approaches. From this expanded view, personality appears as an “hyper-complex” system of intra-individual circular interactions, and of recursive relations between internal and external factors, that develops and grows self-organizing. This approach takes into account, within a wide interpretative framework, the contributions from various humanistic and scientific disciplines.


Key words: personality; complex systems; chaos.





Some comments on democracy and manipulating consent in western post-democratic societies


Gianfranco Minati


Italian Systems Society www.airs.it Via P. Rossi, 42  20161-Milano MI  ITALY  Tel./Fax: +39-2-66202417Email: gianfranco.minati@AIRS.it          http://www.geocities.com/lminati/gminati/index.html




In the history of western democracies, now degenerating into post-democracies, it is possible to identify a first phase during which aspirant leadership has been attempting to influence and involve people, by forcing masses to do something, to believe something, rather than by getting consent. The second phase relates to democracies where aspirant leadership must get consent thorough formal elections. The mass dimension is not related anymore to involvement, but to getting formal consent. Manipulating social techniques, based on sophisticated research in cognitive science and applied by using the mass-media, have been and are used for marketing exploiting knowledge of complex human behavior in order to turn individuals into customers. Similar technologies are used for to influence people to buy a political offer and leadership. The mass dimension is not anymore a warranty of democracy, but rather the basis for applying marketing techniques that make consent buyable. Democratic societies became degenerated post-democratic societies. The most  significant aspect of such manipulating techniques is the manipulation and control of language used by applying approaches based on cognitive science. Some of those approaches are  introduced.  The purpose of this contribution is to focus on how the systems community may make people aware of the manipulating processes and able to recognize them, with special reference to language. The possibility to make consent buyable may be the end of the classic idea of democracy and this must be taken in count when dealing with so-called emergent social systems, often assumed to be non-democratic by western societies.


Key words:  consent, democracy, involvement, language, manipulation.




Towards a second systemics


Gianfranco Minati


Italian Systems Society www.airs.it Via P. Rossi, 42  20161-Milano MI  ITALY  Tel./Fax: +39-2-66202417Email: gianfranco.minati@AIRS.it         http://www.geocities.com/lminati/gminati/index.html




General Systems Theory produced many cultural and scientific results and approaches based on some fundamental aspects like the interaction between components, distinguished from relationInter-disciplinarity is introduced as the disciplinary study of systemic properties. Trans-disciplinarity is introduced as the study of systemic properties in general and of relationships among them. Finally Systemics is introduced as cultural generalization of the principles contained in the General Systems Theory. In reference to many new scientific disciplinary results we introduce the need to update the concepts and models of Systemics. We introduce a short review of those results, like Collective Phenomena; Phase Transitions in physics; Dynamical Usage of Models (DYSAM); Multiple systems, emerging from the same elements, but having simultaneous different interactions among them; Uncertainty Principles; Laws of scaling; Modelling emergence; Systemic meaning of new theorizations like Quantum Field Theories (QFT) in physics with related applications in biology, in studying the brain, consciousness, and in dealing with long-range correlations. The study of emergence undertaken in many disciplinary fields, like Physics, Biology, Artificial Life, Information Technology and Economics, has been realized focusing on the web of fundamental problems of General Systems Theory like the transition between non-systemic and systemic phases. The problem of modelling emergence relates to modelling processes of interaction between components and the observer. Dealing with those new problems and results calls for new theoretical approaches for Systemics. The change is expected to be so innovative to name this process with particular reference to emergence: Systemics of emergence or Second Systemics. We stress the need that the systems community, honouring its tradition and mission, be active part and leads this process, while at the present the most important research activities on Systemics seem to take place disciplinarily, out from the system community.


Key words: emergence, interaction, inter-disciplinarity, systemics, theory, trans-disciplinarity.





Mistake making machines


Gianfranco Minati*, Giuseppe Vitiello#


*Italian Systems Society,  www.airs.it Via P. Rossi, 42  20161-Milano MI  ITALY  Tel./Fax: +39-2-66202417                            Email:  gianfranco.minati@AIRS.it           http://www.geocities.com/lminati/gminati/index.html


#Dipartimento di Fisica "E.R.Caianiello", INFN and INFM     Universita' di Salerno, Via S. Allende - 84081 Baronissi (Salerno), Italia                        Email: vitiello@sa.infn.it        http://www.sa.infn.it/giuseppe.vitiello/vitiello/




Classic approaches consider errors and mistakes related to inadequate usage or functioning of physical or logical devices. They are usually considered problems to be fixed, like in engineering the ones related to reliability and availability. Mistake making processes or machines are assumed to be repaired. Another phase has been established when considering the role of the observer and the introduction of uncertainty principles. It is then possible to consider processes, at a certain level of description, as observer-related mistake making machines. We discuss the topic related to the possibility to design a mistake making device as a problem having correspondences with designing emergence. Emergence may be considered as a possible error appearing in Mistake Making Processes. We introduce the possibility to design an intrinsically (non observer-related) mistake making device, which has been proposed to be named Spartacus. This project is proposed with reference to the dissipative quantum model of brain. Another approach may be the one related to chaotic neural network designing, introduced in literature as Creativity Machine.


Key words: error, mistake, dissipation, emergence, model, observer, brain, quantum fields.




Analysis of Fingerprints through a Reactive Agent


Anna Montesanto, Guido Tascini, Paola Baldassarri, Luca Santinelli


Dipartimento di Elettronica, Intelligenza Artificiale e Telecomunicazioni, Università Politecnica delle Marche, 60131 Ancona, Italia




The aim of this job is to study the process of self-organisation of the knowledge in a reactive autonomous agent that navigates throughout a fingerprint image. This fingerprint has been recorded using a low cost sensor, so it has with her a lot of noise. In this particular situation the usual methods of analysis of the minutiae fail or need a strong pre-processing of the image. Our system is a reactive agent that acts independently from the noise in the image because the process of self-organising of the knowledge carries to the emergency of the concept of "run toward the minutiae" through a categorisation of the sensorial input and a generalisation of the situation "state-action". The system is based on hybrid architecture for the configuration recognition and the knowledge codifies.


Key words:           Fingerprints, Reactive Agent, Navigation, Planning




The projection "out of body" of the bio-psycho-cognitive living human organism can explain:

 1) the link between human organism and the social institutions.

 2) the emergence of human consciousness

Nunez Emmanuel


Laboratoire de Biochimie Endocrinienne, Faculté de Médecine Xavier Bichat, Université Denis Diderot, 75870 Paris, France



We present a tentative hypothesis of the existence of structural and functional analogies between the bio-psycho-cognitive living organism, working as a model, and the social institutions.

Such an hypothesis is supported by:

1) the analogies which exist between an enterprise and a living organism.

2) the existence of " out of body experiences" observed in some natural conditions and electrophysiological manipulations.

Social institutions are created by man to protect human against aggressions and stress and so adapt human to changes.

In addition, the possibility to project out of the body a virtual object representing this body constitute one of the elements which can contribute to human identity and consciousness. Thus, a trinitrian situation is realized between the subject, the out of body projected subject, becaming so a virtual object,  and the outside observer. This outside observer is classicaly recognized as the essential factor( miror of the subject) needed for the subject identity construction.

 So, a " trinitrian intelligent  loop" is realized, allowing the emergence of the consciousness of the conscience.



Music, Emergence and Pedagogical Process


Emanuela Pietrocini


Accademia Angelica Costantiniana, http://www.accademiacostantiniana.org Centro “Anna Comneno”, Piazza A. Tosti 4 Roma RM ITALYemanuela.pietrocini@libero.it  AIRS – Italian Systems Society, Milan, Italy




Music presents features typical of complex systems, whether for the multiple aspects it contains or the type of connections it establishes between systems that are seemingly far apart in terms of context, problematic and local characteristics.   Actually, in music it is detected the necessary persistence and coexistence of contrasting or apparently irreconcilable elements whose interaction gives rise to what we call “beauty”; this can be more accurately defined, by way of complexity, as an emergent property of artistic production.  In this sense, music can help us to redefine “cognitive paths” in virtue of its profound ability to represent and make emergent cognitive processes. Perception, representation, abstraction, creativity and non-linearity are, among the emergent properties of the music-system, those which are most consistent with the process of learning. A didactics of music based on complexity as methodological point of reference shapes the pedagogical process as an interaction in which teacher and student are involved in a reciprocal relationship. From the superposition of their roles in real experience and from the relational aspects, a form of self-defined learning process arises taking on the character of emergent property of the system..


Key words: Music, emergence, pedagogical process, complexity.





The theory of levels of reality and the difference between simple and tangled hierarchies


Roberto Poli

University of Trento and Mitteleuropa Foundation




The main features of the theory of level of reality are presented. The conceptual framework according to which levels follow a linear, brick-like order is opposed to a more sophisticated, "tangled" framework.


Key words:           Level of reality, stratum, layer, hierarchy, dependence, autonomy





Complexity and paternalism


Paolo Ramazzotti


Università di Macerata




The aim of the paper is to assess the features of public policy in a complex environment. The point of departure is provided by a number of recent papers by David Colander where he argues that progress in mathematics and computational technology allows scholars and policymakers to grasp features of economic reality that, up to some time ago, were beyond their reach. The technical difficulties associated to these new tools, however, hardly allow single individuals to use them. Colander therefore suggests that there is scope for public intervention. This intervention need not preclude individual freedom. He refers to it as “libertarian paternalism”.

The paper argues that Colander focuses on first order complexity, which is associated to economic dynamics, but neglects second order complexity, which relates to cognitive processes. Cognition implies that actors can formulate their choices only by learning, i.e. by constructing appropriate knowledge contexts. This requires appropriate public action in order to prevent the establishment of restrictive knowledge contexts. This action, however, consists in a “democratic paternalism” that is markedly different from the paternalism Colander refers to.


Keywords: Complexity, Knowledge, Paternalism, Public policy, Choice




About the Possibility of a Cartesian Theory Upon Systems, Information and Control


Paolo Rocchi


IBM via Shangai 53, 00144 Roma, Italypaolorocchi@it.ibm.com




A variety of studies such as operational research, control theory, information theory, calculate relevant sides of system operations. They although cover small and separed areas, and provide a feeble support to engineers who need an ample theoretical framework. This paper illustrates an axiomatic theory that attempts to cover and integrate three ample topics: systems, information and control. We comment the reasons which steered this study and the significance of some formal results that have been achieved       


Key words: General system theory, information theory, ideal models,




Recent results on random boolean networks


R. Serra, M. Villani


Centro Ricerche e Servizi Ambientali Fenice via Ciro Menotti 48, I-48023 Marina di Ravenna




Random boolean networks (RBN) are well known dynamical systems, whose properties have been extensively studied in the case where each node has the same number of incoming connections, coming from other nodes chosen at random with uniform probability, and the updating is synchronous. In the past, the comparison with experimental results has been limited to some well-known tests; we review here some recent results that demonstrate that the availability of gene expression data now allows further testing of these models. Moreover, in this paper we summarize some recent results and present some novel data concerning the dynamics of these networks in the case where either the network has a scale-free topology or the updating takes place asynchronously.

Key words: genetic networks, scale-free, attractor, DNA microarray




Color-Oriented Content based Image Retrieval


Guido Tascini, Anna Montesanto, Paolo Puliti


Dipartimento di Elettronica, Intelligenza Artificiale e Telecomunicazioni, Università Politecnica delle Marche, 60131 Ancona, Italia




The aim of this work is to study a metrics that represents the perceptive space of the colours. Besides we want to furnish innovative methods and tools for annotate and seek images. The experimental results have shown that in tasks of evaluation of the similarity, the subjects don't refer to the most general category of "colour", but they create subordinate categories in base to some particular colour. Those categories contain all the variations of this colour and also they form intersections between categories in which any variations are shared. The perception of the variations is not isometric; on the contrary that perception is weighed in different manner if the variations belong to a particoular colour. So the variations that belong to the intersection area will have different values of similarity in relation to the own category. We developed a system of colour-oriented content based image retrieval using this metrics. This system analyzes the image through features of colour correspondents to the own perception of the human being. Beyond to guarantee a good degree of satisfaction for the user, this approach furnishes a novelty in the development of the CBIR systems. In fact there is the introduction of a criterion to index the figures; it is very synthetic and fast.



Key words: Color Perception, Nonisometric Similarity Metrics, Human Sobjects, Content based image retrieval




Emergency of the cooperation-competition between two robots.


G. Tascini, A. Montesanto


Dipartimento di elettronica, intelligenza artificiale e telecomunicazioni


Università politecnica delle marche, Ancona

mailto: g.tascini@univpm.it




The work studies the trajectories, the emergent strategies  and the effects due to the interaction of two robots, in a simulated environment. The robots have the same task: crossing some fixed zones of the environment. The study is focused on the emergence of collaborative or  competitive behaviour,  which is valued by taking into account  the interaction area locations and the impact of the interaction on the behaviour. The results of the research show  emergent behaviours with a strong analogy with those of dominance in nature, in which animals organize itself in groups that follow particular geometries. The experiments highlight that  the resulting  interaction geometries depend on the agent evolution degree and on  the interaction area locations, while the relationship between these two factors appears as  reciprocal.


Key words: Cooperation, Competition, Simulated Agent, Evolutionary Learning





Metasystem transitions and sustainability in human organizations (part I)

Towards Organizational Synergetics


Graziano Terenzi


 ATESS- Territorial Agency for Energy and Sustainable Development, Frosinone, Italy  AIRS – Italian Systems Society, Milan, Italy




This two-paper series deals with the problem of understanding the relations between viability and sustainability in the context of social metasystem transitions occurring in a global environment. PART I of the paper argues that metasystem transitions in human organizations can be better understood by resorting to concepts from Synergetics, such as those of slaving principle, order parameter and control within order parameter equations. The subject of Organizational Synergetics is thus introduced. After recognizing the centrality of observation processes, an integration to Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model is proposed, which includes a dedicated observing subsystem for the detection of both internal and environmental order parameters. The signal flow graph of the subsystem is constructed and a scheme of its overall transfer function is also derived.


Key words: emergence, metasystem transitions, viability, sustainability, Viable System Model, Organizational Synergetics, control of order parameters




Metasystem transitions and sustainability in human organizations (part II)

A Heuristics for Global Sustainability

Graziano Terenzi


 ATESS- Territorial Agency for Energy and Sustainable Development, Frosinone, Italy  AIRS – Italian Systems Society, Milan, Italy




This two-paper series deals with the problem of understanding the relations between viability and sustainability in the context of social metasystem transitions occurring in a global environment. In PART I of the series, the subject of Organizational Synergetics has been introduced, and an integration to Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model has been proposed. PART II argues that the identification of emergents and their relationships is not only necessary to improve organization’s viability but also to assess organization’s sustainability. The distinction is made, then, between local sustainability and global sustainability. Whereas the former is amenable to a standard computational treatment, the latter, it is argued, is an undecidable property of the global system comprising both the system in focus and its global environment. In force of its undecidable and holonic character, global sustainability can only be attained by resorting to suitable heuristics designed to guide global evolution. Finally, a strategy and a general heuristics, which is based on the concept of a Viable Holonic Network, are proposed.


Key words: emergence, metasystem transitions, viability, local and global sustainability, Viable System Model, Organizational Synergetics, control of order parameters, Viable Holonic Networks, holonic property





The origin of analogies in physics


Enzo Tonti


Università di Trieste; e-mail: tonti@units.it




The paper gives the reasons for analogies in physics showing that they arise from the natural link between global physical variables and the space elements, i.e. points, lines, surfaces and volumes.


Key words: analogies, topological equations, constitutive equations.




Normative commitment to the organization, support and self competence

Adalgisa Battistelli¹, Marco Mariani² and Benedetta Bellò³

¹ Department of Psychology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Verona, via S. Francesco, 22, 37129, VR; adalgisa.battistelli@univr.it   ²Department of Sciences of Education, University of Bologna, via Zamboni, 34; ³ Department of Psychology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Verona, Via S. Francesco, 22, 37129, VR


The main objective of this study was to examine the relationship between perceived organizational support (POS) and organizational commitment; more precisely, using a sample of 687 employees, we conducted a study to examine the relationship between POS and a) affective commitment and b) normative commitment; the study also aimed to examine the relationship between POS and self competence as its antecedent. Data confirm the hypotheses that: affective and normative commitment were found to be influenced by POS in an equal manner; POS was found to be influenced by  self competence.

Key words: perceived organizational support, self competence, affective commitment and normative commitment.



The “hope capacity” in the care process and the patient-physician relationship


Alberto Ricciuti

Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sui Sistemi (AIRS)

Attivecomeprima-Onlus (Breast Cancer Association), via Livigno, 3 – 20158 – Milano, Italy




Especially in serious pathologies, in which there is a real risk of dying, the capacity of  the ill person of  keeping alive the will of living and participating actively in the care process, is intimately linked to what Fornari calls “hope capacity”. Such capacity is often reduced and inhibited by the kind of arguments developed in the patient-physician communication due to a misunderstanding or a wrong use of the concept of “probability”.

Besides a possible and personal religious faith supporting the “hope capacity”, we tend to hope much more in the events we consider more probable. But the ill person’s capacity to light on a “hope process” that allows him/her to participate more consciously and actively in the care path mostly depends on the kind of evaluation made of this probability in the patient-physician relationship. In the context of the actual biomedical model, inspired on a narrow conception of the living beings , we currently use, in the patient-physician communication, the statistical and probabilistical evaluations referred to clinical/epidemiological data (recurrence risk, surviving in different stages of the illness, etc.), as predictive of the possible evolution of the pathology in the single person. When that happens – for a misunderstanding of the concept of “probability” or a semantic one – the “hope capacity” of the ill person fades away until it definitely disappears, increasing psychological suffering, worsening some pathology-related symptoms, increasing the use of drugs and making the care process more difficult and perhaps less effective.

This work shows how, in a systemic conception of health problems – where the barycentre of our attention is shifted from the illness to the ill person – new and fertile spaces for the discussion in the patient-physician communication about his/her possible futures can be opened, referring on one hand to the logistic concept of probability developed in the XX century by Wittgenstein and Keynes, on the other hand  to the objective interpretation of the theory of probability proposed by Popper, which defines probability as “propensity”, that is as a physical reality analogous to forces or fields of forces.

Therefore, a systemic approach in medicine can offer to the physician the possibility to help the patient – with arguments based and opened on the context of the person’s life and not closed on the illness as abstract nosologic reality – to be more conscious of the reasons that really make possible the realization of his/her care project. On these bases it’s easier for the ill person, if useful and necessary, to find the strength to change that behaviours and life rules which, driving and nourishing in a probably more correct and effective way the organism and its own biological processes, embody the “hope capacity” and the quality of his/her life.





A multivariate contribution to the study of mobbing, using the QMP 1.5 questionnaire.


P. Argentero, N. S. Bonfiglio


Università degli Studi di Pavia




Intrinsic uncertainty in the study of Complex Systems: the case of choice of academic career


Maria Santa Ferretti and Eliano Pessa


Psychology Department – University of Pavia

Piazza Botta 6, 27100 Pavia - Italy



PUNTONET 2003: A multidisciplinary and systemic approach in training disabled people within the experience of Villa S.Ignazio

Fortin Dario, Durini Viola, Nardon Marianna

Villa S.Ignazio, Cooperativa di Solidarietà Sociale, via alle Laste 22, 38100 Trento [vsi@vsi.it]


In this paper we will present Puntonet 2003, a about 900 hours’ course intended for disabled people and co-financed by the European Social Fund. Our approach in developing the course structure itself was focused in taking into account both the future employment of the participants and the personal and social reinforcement. The organizing and teaching team is itself multidisciplinary, combining engineers and scientific professionals and professionals with social, educational and psychological skills. The course Puntonet 2003 aims the inclusion of disabled people in the Information Society, improving professional skills but also reinforcing knowledge and integration in the social network.

Key words:    Information Society, Disability, Social integration, Employment.



Intelligence and complexity management: from physiology to pathology. Experimental evidences and theoretical models.

Pier Luigi Marconi

ARTEMIS Neuropsichiatrica, Rome - Italy




Old maps and the watercolor illusion: Cartography, Vision Science and figure-ground segregation principles


Gavino Mariotti

Baingio Pinna


Facoltà di Lingue e Letterature Straniere, University of Sassari, via Roma 151, I-07100 Sassari, Italy.

Phone:  +39-079-441101  Fax:   +39-079-229645 e-mail: baingio@uniss.it


Supported by: Fondazione Banco di Sardegna, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, ERSU, Banca di Sassari and Fondo d’Ateneo (ex 60%).




Long-range color spreading is studied in two experiments in which a purple contour is flanked by an orange contour. The color faintly but uniformly fills in the surface from the orange contour inducing a strong figural effect and is therefore known as the Watercolor illusion. The figural effect of the watercolor illusion is compared with classical Gestalt factors (past experience, similarity and symmetry). The results of the experiments reveal a more effective role of the watercolor illusion in form perception and in figure-ground segregation than the one of the past experience principle and, in addition, corroborate the perceptual effects in distinguishing and demarcating geographical regions obtained by early cartography using the outline-color technique. The results are explained in terms of Grossberg’s FACADE neural model of biological vision.


Keywords: Historical cartography, watercolor illusion, grouping principles, unilateral belongingness of boundaries,figure-ground organization, neural model.



Disablement, assistive technologies and computer accessibility: hints of analysis through a clinical approach based on the icf model.



Masala Carmelo, Petretto Donatella Rita


Department of Psychology – University of Cagliari




Aim of the present paper is to introduce some hints of analysis about the problems encountered  using computer science instruments in school to improve the participation and the learning skills in people who are in a situation of disability. The ICF model of the World Health Organization has been explained as a proposal to classify the health conditions according to a bio-psycho-social approach. Classification tools of the computer Assistive Technology are described in the field of the Assistive Technologies and then hints of  analysis are proposed to describe the various factor influencing the disability situations and then, starting from this, a definition is given of the principles of individualization to create a customized setup of the computer aids for people in a disability situation.

Such approach has been experimentally tested in the project M@rte-Handicap of  Miur and Regione Autonoma della Sardegna, and is available on  line at the site: www.portalem@rte.it.



A computational model of face perception


Maria Pietronilla Penna, Vera Stara, Marco Boi, Paolo Puliti





User centered portal design: a case study in web usability


Maria Pietronilla Penna*, Vera Stara**, Daniele Costenaro*


*Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Facoltà di Scienze della Formazione, Dipartimento di Psicologia

**Università Politecnica delle Marche, Facoltà di Ingegneria, DEIT






A model of hypertextual structure and organization


Maria Pietronilla Penna*, Vera Stara**, Daniele Costenaro*, Paolo Puliti**


*Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Facoltà di Scienze della Formazione, Dipartimento di Psicologia

**Università Politecnica delle Marche, Facoltà di Ingegneria, DEIT





Teachers in the technological age: a comparison between traditional and hypertextual instructional strategies.


Maria Pietronilla Penna*, Vera Stara**, Daniele Costenaro*


*Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Facoltà di Scienze della Formazione, Dipartimento di Psicologia

**Università Politecnica delle Marche, Facoltà di Ingegneria, DEIT




The emergence of e-learning


Maria Pietronilla Penna*, Vera Stara**, Paolo Puliti**


*Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Facoltà di Scienze della Formazione, Dipartimento di Psicologia

**Università Politecnica delle Marche, Facoltà di Ingegneria, DEIT





The neon color spreading and the watercolor illusion: Phenomenal links and neural mechanisms


Baingio Pinna


Facoltà di Lingue e Letterature Straniere, University of Sassari, via Roma 151, I-07100 Sassari, Italy.

Phone:  +39-079-441101           Fax:     +39-079-229645            e-mail:  baingio@uniss.it


Supported by: Fondazione Banco di Sardegna, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, ERSU, Banca di Sassari and Fondo d’Ateneo (ex 60%).




This work explores the interactions between the cortical boundary and coloration and figural properties of two illusions: the neon color spreading and the watercolor effect. Through psychophysical and phenomenal observations the neon color spreading has been compared with the watercolor illusion. The results showed that the phenomenal qualities of both effects can be reduced to a basic common limiting case that can explain the perceptual differences between the two illusions. Finally, the article proposes a unified explanation of the properties of the two illusions in terms of the FACADE neural model of biological vision (Grossberg, 1994). The model clarifies how local properties, such as spatial competition, can control some properties of both illusions, and how more global figural properties, determining the shape and strength of contours, can explain differences between the two illusions.


Keywords: Neon color spreading, watercolor illusion, Gestalt principle of grouping, border ownership, figure-ground segregation, FACADE model.



Overcoming computationalism in Cognitive Science



Maria Pietronilla Penna


Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Facoltà di Scienze della Formazione, Dipartimento di Psicologia




Physical and biological emergence: are they different?



Eliano Pessa


Università  degli  Studi  di  Pavia, Dipartimento  di   Filosofia  e  Psicologia .  Piazza  Botta , 6   

  (Palazzo S. Felice) 27100, Pavia, Italy





Usability and man-machine interaction


Roberta Rani, Maria Pietronilla Penna




Prisoner dilemma: a model taking into account expectancies



N. S. Bonfiglio, E. Pessa



Spatial learning in children


B. Lai, M. P. Penna, V. Stara




Representation in psychometrics: confirmatory factor models of job satisfaction in a group of professional staff


Maria Santa Ferretti

Piergiorgio Argentero




This article falls within the scope of one of the most recent interpretations of psychometrics, characterized by the concept of “representation”. Formal models and theories to define latent structures represent a particularly important research tool in modern psychometrics, in which psychological disciplines interact with disciplines that envisage formalization, such as mathematics and statistics.

The study in question was used as a means of identifying a model that represents the structure of the typical constructs of a set of items in a job satisfaction scale. The results, consistent with the current literature, demonstrate the multidimensional nature of the construct even among the sample population of managerial staff, yet also identify some characteristic dimensions that, while distinct, are strictly correlated.


Key words: psychometry, structural models, job satisfaction, professional staff.




Complexity  in  universe  dynamic evolution

part  2   -   Preceding  History


Umberto Di Caprio

Stability Analysis s.r.l. - Via A. Doria  48/A  20124  Milano ( I )





We define the initial structure of Universe and the disturbance that destroys the dynamical equilibrium relating to such structure. We reconstruct subsequent evolution and explain how expansion led to a matter dominated era. Further on we illustrate the birth of galaxies and the growth up to present time. According to our model Universe was transparent up to the beginning of the matter dominated era and afterwards, for a certain time, was obscured by the presence of central black-hole. A conjecture about ether is set forward.




Is being computational an intrinsic property of a dynamical system?


Marco Giunti


Università di Cagliari, Italy




I consider whether or not a discrete dynamical system has two isomorphic representations, one recursive and the other non-recursive; if it does not, the system can be said to be an intrinsic computational system.  I prove that intrinsic computational systems exist, as well as non-intrinsic ones, and I finally argue that some representation of a non-intrinsic computational system is not effective with respect to the state-space structure of the system.


Key words: dynamical systems theory, discrete system, computational system, computation, computability theory, recursive function, effective procedure, representability.