(1) A set of elements in interaction. (von Bertalanffy 1968)
(2) A combination of interacting system elements organized to achieve one or more stated purposes. (ISO/IEC/IEEE 2008)
(1) von Bertalanffy, L. 1968. General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications. Revised ed. New York, NY, USA: George Braziller, Inc.
(2) ISO/IEC/IEEE. 2008. Systems and Software Engineering - System Life Cycle Processes. Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2008 (E). The second definition is an expanded version of the ISO/IEC/IEEE version.
Definition (1) is the System Science definition and applies to all systems: natural, social or technical.
Definition (2) is the recognized definition for systems engineers. Elements in this sense may include hardware, software, firmware, people, information, techniques, facilities, services, related natural artifacts and other support elements. This definition should be restricted to engineered systems which are created with a purpose which provides value to one or more beneficiaries.
See What is a System? for a full discussion of the nature of systems in general and the scope of engineered systems of particular interest to systems engineering.
Please provide your comments and feedback on the SEBoK below. You will need to log in to DISQUS using an existing account (e.g. Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or create a DISQUS account. Simply type your comment in the text field below and DISQUS will guide you through the login or registration steps. Feedback will be archived and used for future updates to the SEBoK. If you provided a comment that is no longer listed, that comment has been adjudicated. You can view adjudication for comments submitted prior to SEBoK v. 1.0 at SEBoK Review and Adjudication. Later comments are addressed and changes are summarized in the Editors' Note.
If you would like to provide edits on this article, recommend new content, or make comments on the SEBoK as a whole, please see the SEBoK Sandbox.blog comments powered by Disqus