SYSTEMS SCIENCE EUROPEAN UNION Union Européenne de Systémique (U.E.S.)
6th Systems Science European Congress
6ème Congrès Européen de Systémique
École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers (E.N.S.A.M.), Paris, France
19 - 22 septembre 2005
Organisé par l’Association Française de Science des Systèmes (AFSCET),
avec l’Union Européenne de Systémique
et le parrainage de l’UNESCO.
It is intended that, during this 6th congress of the Systems European Union, most of the themes pertinent to systems science, be they conceptual or operational, shall be covered. Provided they ensure keener analysis and comprehension of complex situations and better decisions making and/or management of controlled action.
We propose, for a number of topics, some directions that may lead to new developments. These are only suggestions, and in no way a line to follow.
1) Consolidation of Systems Sciences fundamentals :
System variety, Emergence (of action, of properties, of meaning), Networks, Feedbacks, Control and regulation, Frontier and limits, Levels of organisation, Environment, Stability, Evolution, Adaptation, …
When interaction between systems may be seen as generating the emergence of new properties.
As a scientific theory, a theory of emergence should help us in describing, understanding and, possibly, in predicting the behaviour of a system, provided that well defined conditions are met. There is a certain need to develop the formalization of systems operations focused on emergence phenomena. Some suggest that a « new » language be invented which, via its operators, could generate meaning. Submitted papers concerning emergence will be welcomed.
2) Systems Complexity : defining an describing new tools to better apprehend, control and manage complex systems.
Facing the multiplicity of factors prevailing in systems, the observer-actor, while considering the futility of looking for explanatory relationship of the “cause vs. effect” type, has invented a new concept : systemic complexity. As of today, this concept still remains fuzzy, and does not convey all the subtlety imbedded in this term. We think that the time has come to elaborate a « calculus of complexity », so as to better formalize both the organization and evolution of systems. We refer to the past development of the calculus of probability, extended later to statistics and fuzzy logic, and with considerable success.
You will find below some suggested directions for those considering submitting a paper about complexity.
- Defining complexity,
- Measuring complexity,
- Tools to represent complexity,
- Scale invariance and complexity,
- Clustering or dismantling of different systems (how the complexity varies with the level considered : by combining interactions between individual systems, the collective emergence of new systems - changing levels - permits to diminish the overall complexity, and vice-versa. But also how the feedback between levels of organisation increases complexity, making the whole process highly non linear ; How social systems utilize the phenomenon to condition individuals).
- Bifurcation phenomena (overloading of channels of interaction between elements of a system, saturation of memories rendering the system unable to adjust to a knew environment, bringing the system in a « critical sate state » that may cause toppling the system from one structure to another).
- How complexity evolves when a system self-transforms (self construction and self destruction of living systems).
- Systemic variety : its effect on redundancy and complexity.
- Fractal geometry as applied to systems.
3) Contributions of the systems approach :
· Analogies between biological systems evolution and human society social transformation.
· Symbolic dimensions in social systems.
· Governance in finalized systems (or with multiple objectives) : corporations, association, cities, nations, globalised economy, etc.
· Socio cybernetics
· Artificial life an intelligence.
· Experimenting within social systems.
· Integration within systems : ago-antagonistic behaviour when a new component is added to an existing system.
· Stability and destabilization of systems.
Analogies between bio-psycho -cognitive systems and social system.
Sociology often uses biological or medical metaphors. To explain how living systems behave, social metaphors might be a good starting point. The intermingling of those languages could be a sign that analogies do exist between structures and/or functioning of living systems and that of social organization.Social systems are created and developed by man, in continuity with himself and articulate with its own image, in order to derive protection from and adaptation with, a hostile environment. Extensive study of working methods, analysis enabling tools, modes of thinking, descriptive language, used by biologists, entomologists, ethologists ?,…, might spur new comprehensions in the field of sociologists, ethnologists, … and vice versa.
Papers might point to similarities and differences between these different fields in such a way that living systems sciences and social sciences may benefit from the confrontation. This should be done while specifying and clarifying how the « transcription » from one domain to the other will open up new leads for discovery.
Symbolic systems, their part in social behaviour.
Social systems, be they political, economical, organizational, family-centered, …, have a common feature : that of bringing together and interacting, human beings, natural objects (living or inanimate) and symbolic elements resulting in an exclusive combination of language and culture. Thus, this particular combination of elements, constitutes a symbolic system, and should be studied, per se. These systems permanently interfere in the functioning of social systems, to channel and contain their course. The submitted papers, in keeping with a systemic approach, will endeavour to demonstrate how the inter connexion of symbolic variables allows a better understanding of the evolution of social systems, and how to induce its change, through the « manipulation » of these variables.
Governance in finalized systems (or with multiple objectives) : corporations, association, cities, nations, globalised economy, health systems...
The systemic approach of governance makes up a trans-disciplinary subject, par excellence. Economic and cultural globalisation, cross-border demographic pressures, the impact of human activities on the Earth living fitness, the ever speeding up of new information technology, generate management problems at all levels of organization. Individual and collective action is submitted to new constraints and offered new opportunities. Consequences on governing practical details, for family, city, nation, cannot but be ignored. The submitted papers should cover the subjects of governance at any levels : world, nation, city, company, family, etc.
Socio-cybernetics (Social complexities from the individual to cyberspace).
The 6th Congress of UES will house a symposium on Socio-cybernetic (conducted by ISA (International Sociological Association), CR 51 on Socio-cybernetics, headed by Bernd R. Hornung). It intends to demonstrate the usefulness of socio-cybernetics for analysing the complex social world with its dynamics and problems on and across different levels, from the individual social actor to the global world and cyberspace. Of special interest will be how both science, as observer, and the social actors and systems being observed try to cope with complexity and manage or govern such systems. Particularly welcome are papers with an interdisciplinary orientation. Nonetheless, papers have to fall clearly into the scope of socio-cybernetics, i.e. systems science applied in the social sciences, in particular sociology. This includes the different systems approaches, first and second order cybernetics, and autopoietic ? theory, if applied to issues of the social sciences. Such issues may belong to any of the different areas of science, i.e. theory, epistemology, methodology, ethics and values, empirical and applied research.
Artificial life an intelligence.
Traditionally, this field encompasses a large number of topics, such as shape recognition robots, expert systems, systems of multiple cooperative agents producing a kind of «collective intelligence », etc. Beyond these applications, the goal of an « artificial mind » may be envisioned, with all the ethical questions entailed. Submitted papers might present topics based on recent developments of neurosciences, cognition sciences, neural networks, evolutionary algorithms, etc. and thus give rise to fresh thinking in these matters.
Experimenting within social systems.
If experimenting and testing is usual routine on new developments in technology and living systems, it cannot be so when dealing with social phenomena. In such systems, social actors are likely to react against decisions taken by the experimenting team. However , such experimenting (limited in time and/or space) should enable the decision makers to better evaluate the social system’s parameters they want to transform, thus avoiding counter productive impact of the envisoned decisions, and the human and financial cost that goes with it. Submitted papers might describe successful social experimenting (development of project, criteria for success, monitoring the experiment, collecting evidence, modifying and implementing the project) or failures of misprepared projects(worsening of problems meant to be cured by the reform, by overlooking essentials and delayed factors, resistant to late action).
Integration within systems : ago-antagonistic behaviour when a new component is added to an existing system.
From unicellular organisms regrouping to form multicellular beings, better suited to face environment hazards, to the unitising of several nations to constitute a super state, the question of determining the pros and cons of mutual integration of two interacting systems is a constant in the evolution of living material. Submitted papers might track the different aspects of integrating two systems. How circumstances (environment, balance of power) may favour the predominance of one of the primary system.
Stability and destabilization of systems.
Attraction basin, viability domain, structural stability, are all strictly defined mathematical notions corresponding to concepts with which systemicians are usually comfortable. Such is probably not the case, when it comes to the impact of newly developed time-space theories (fractals, fuzzy sets, etc.) on systems evolution. In another tack of thought, is it possible to transpose artificial systems failure theories and practice to living systems and, beyond, to social systems ? Is it possible to define the concept of « balancing and/or unbalancing wave propagation » within systems ? These questions may trigger the submission of papers, be they directly related to the above questions, or simply within the domain of « stability of systems » at large.
1. Abstract of submitted papers are to be written in English or French, length between one half or two pages (maximum). Typed with Times New Roman, size 12, print, and be received by the organizing committee of the Congress before May 1st ,2005, by e-mail at the following e-mail address :
2. The organizing committee will answer before June 15th ,2005, as to its acceptance of the submitted paper.
3. In order that the submitted paper be printed in the Congress Proceedings, hopefully ready at the start of the congress, authors should forward their copy-to-be-published, by e-mail, before August 15, 2005, at the following (same as above) e-mail address :
Formating papers :
Official languages : French or English.
Length of text : between 5 to 10 pages, (diagrams included).
Software format : all submitted papers must use « .rtf » or « .doc » format.
fonts to be used : Times New Roman,
dimensions : titles : 14, body of the text : 12, footnote : 10.
Bibliographical references : as a footnote, following the pattern hereunder:
Author’s name and first name, (publishing date). Title (italic). If and when necessary :Journal’s title, reference number, Publisher (with address if possible).
Martin D. (march 2001). System’s approach and urban evolution. Afscet Systems Essentials., Vol 12, N° 1206. Afscet (Conseil d’Etat, Place du Palais Royal,75001 Paris, France).
Paper’s referencing (to be sent together with the abstract)
Title of submitted paper,
Academic titles and/or status if any
Organization (passed or present)
Occupation (passed or present)
Telephone, fax, numbers (with country code number)
Nota bene : The Organizing Committee will submit all contributions to scientific review before acceptance.