A Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Systems Science (SS) is established to promote a new academic interdisciplinary engineering education and research program for a sustainable future.
Over the last hundred years as human thought process has developed, a systems science approach to dealing with problems has started taking shape. This viewpoint envisages looking at a system: be it a mechanical one, like an automobile or a living organism such as humans, not as an individual entity but as interconnected systems which work in tandem to provide a bigger picture; sometimes called the ecologic viewpoint. The key words are: connectedness, relationships and context. Thus a bigger system composed of smaller sub-systems evolves by the interactions between the smaller sub-systems arising from self-organization between them. This is very pertinent to the present context as one of the major problems of our time, such as the environmental issue cannot be understood in isolation: they are interconnected and interdependent. Thus a systems approach to these problems is needed. Viable solutions are those that are sustainable, they satisfy present needs without hampering the resource availability for the future. The key features of systems thinking are: a shift of paradigm from the part to the whole and the ability to use concepts alternatively at the systems level. At the same time, different system levels represent levels of differing complexity. At each level the observed phenomena exhibit properties that do not exist at lower levels. Thus the system properties of a particular level are called emergent properties: they emerge at that particular level. This was made spectacularly clear in the first quarter of the last century with the development of quantum physics in which the emergent properties were very different from those of the familiar classical world.
Following are a few major concerns that would be addressed in the systems science research at CoE in SS:
- • Engineered systems and manufacturing processes are becoming increasingly complex, and their cost effectiveness needs to be addressed.
- • Rigorous mathematical frameworks that give a deeper insight in the design of new materials and processes with prescribed functional properties.
- • Investigate the isomorphism of concepts, laws and models in various fields of science, and to help in transforming relevant information from one field to another.
- • Societal concerns have led to regulatory actions that reflect more stringent requirements for the safety and reliability of products; they demand new methods for forecasting and quantification of uncertainties.
- • The useful integration of large data requires that it be processed, preferably in real time, and transformed into information and knowledge.
- • Keeping in mind that Globalization, awareness of resource limitations, increasing sensitivity to anthropogenic effects on the environment the CoE in SS would continually analyze and evaluate its activities in a broader social context, beyond the basic concerns presented above.
The CoE in SS facilitates the development and use of Mathematical techniques in variety of situations that appear in variety of Systems. The CoE also provides the concept of "systems thinking" that enables one to do multidisciplinary and integrated systems design.
The focus areas of the CoE include, but not limited to