Browse Definitions:
Definition

complex system

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A complex system is an arrangement of a great number of related but various elements with intricate relationships and interconnections. Complexity research is applied in a wide range of fields including software development, architecture, artificial intelligence, city planning, networking, bioinformatics and software engineering.

Complex systems typically have input from many sources and are highly changeable. In the physical world, the earth's weather is one example of a complex system. In technology, the internet is a prime example of a complex system or perhaps a system of systems: A large and complex system composed of multiple, dispersed, independent systems. The burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) adds complexity as it develops by making it possible to gather data from and interact with an ever-increasing number of devices and objects, many of which can also communicate automatically with each other.

Chaos theory deals with the apparent lack of order and predictability in complex systems. Chaos, in this context, refers to an apparent lack of order in a system that nevertheless obeys particular laws or rules. The two main propositions of chaos theory are the idea that systems - no matter how complex they may be - rely upon an underlying order, and that very simple or small systems and events can cause very complex behaviors or events.

This was last updated in July 2017

Continue Reading About complex system

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces.

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

SearchSecurity

  • FIDO (Fast Identity Online)

    FIDO (Fast ID Online) is a set of technology-agnostic security specifications for strong authentication. FIDO is developed by the...

  • cryptanalysis

    Cryptanalysis is the study of ciphertext, ciphers and cryptosystems with the aim of understanding how they work and finding and ...

  • Trojan horse (computing)

    In computing, a Trojan horse is a program that appears harmless, but is, in fact, malicious.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • cloud SLA (cloud service-level agreement)

    A cloud SLA (cloud service-level agreement) is an agreement between a cloud service provider and a customer that ensures a ...

  • wear leveling

    Wear leveling is a process that is designed to extend the life of solid-state storage devices.

  • storage area network (SAN)

    A storage area network (SAN) is a dedicated high-speed network or subnetwork that interconnects and presents shared pools of ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close