Chapter Two

Boundary The line that marks the inside and outside of a system and which sets off the system from its environment.
Closed system A system that is cut off from its environment and does not interact with it. See also Open system.
Cohesion The extent to which a system or a subsystem performs a single function.
Component An irreducible part or aggregation of parts that make up a system, also called a subsystem. See also Inter-related components.
Constraint A limit to what a system can accomplish.
Coupling The extent to which subsystems depend on each other.
Environment Everything external to a system which interacts with the system.
Input Whatever a system takes from its environment in order to fulfill its purpose.
Interface In systems theory, the point of contact where a system meets its environment or where subsystems meet each other.
Interrelated components Dependence of one subsystem on one or more subsystems.
Logical system description Description of a system that focuses on the system‚s function and purpose without regard to how the system will be physically implemented.
Modularity Dividing a system up into chunks or modules of a relatively uniform size. See also Cohesion, Coupling.
Open system A system that interacts freely with its environment, taking input and returning output. See also Closed system.
Output Whatever a system returns to its environment in order to fulfill its purpose.
Physical system description Description of a system that focuses on how the system will be materially constructed.
Purpose The overall goal or function of a system.
System An inter-related set of components, with an identifiable boundary, working together for some purpose. See also Closed system, Open system.

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