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Resources: Cascade Systems Society

 

Discussion Meetings on the First Friday of each month during the school year 

Place: Harder House 104, Portland State University (10th & Market)
Time: 4:00 - 5:30 PM

 

Description

4:00 to 4:30 is social time, with the primary discussion being from 4:30 to 5:30.

The discussion meetings are not technical and explore interesting aspects of systems. They are held in the September-May timeframe and are open to the public. The current focus is on ecosystem health.

The primary purpose of the Cascade Systems Society (CSS) is to promote the understanding, appreciation, and utilization of systems concept in the Northwest region of the United States. A secondary purpose is to network and affiliate with other regional, national, and international systems organizations.

Subscription to the Mailing List

We have become a "virtual" organization. Becoming a member of CSS is accomplished by subscribing to our email list, css@cecs.pdx.edu.

To subscribe or unsubscribe from the list, please go to the following website: https://mailhost.cecs.pdx.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/css

 

 

SPRING 2011 SCHEDULE


WINTER 2011 SCHEDULE

 

FALL 2010 SCHEDULE

 

SPRING 2010 SCHEDULE


WINTER 2010 SCHEDULE

 

FALL 2009 SCHEDULE

 


ANNOUNCEMENTS

(in reverse chronological order)

SPRING 2011


Date: Friday, 5/6/11

Topic:  Creating a clear, concise lay definition of systems science
Discussion Leader:  Wayne Wakeland
This month we will work together to create the perfect explanation of systems science.  If we have more time, we will work on additional materials for the packet we are developing to send to friends and potential supporters.

 

 

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Date: Friday, 4/1/11

Topic:  BUILDING a DECISION AID RIGHT-SIDE-OUT


Discussion Leader:  Barry F. Anderson, Psychology

Tools have long been available for improving decision making, yet people who have knowledge of these tools seem reluctant to use them.  I consider multiple reasons why this might be so and consider multiple solutions, then present what I believe to be the world?s most user-friendly decision aid, which is now nearly ready for beta testing and available at no cost at http://wisedecider.net.

Wise Decider is believed to be unique in having the following features:
1.      A creative thinking guide and a critical thinking guide that provide context-sensitive advice for problem structuring, evaluation, and implementation.
2.      A decision table with cells in which objective descriptions of outcomes can be represented as text and subject evaluations of these outcomes can be represented as shades of gray.
3.      Rows in the decision table that can be re-ordered to explore different orders of preference for alternatives and columns that can be re-ordered to explore different ways of thinking about values.

When additional funding becomes available, Wise Decider is planned to have the following unique features, as well:
1.      Automatic quantitative checks on problem structuring.
2.      Table-coloring, where white and black represent the best and worst outcomes in the table, rather than the best and worst outcomes on each value.
3.      Automatic sensitivity analysis.
4.      Automatic identification of value asymmetry for identifying win-win trades in conflict resolution.

One currently unsolved problem, which I look forward to discussing, is how best to deal with risky decisions without losing user friendliness.

Barry F. Anderson is Professor Emeritus. Decision Psychology, Portland State University (andersonb@pdx.edu).  He earned his B. A. at Stanford University in 1957 and his Ph. D. at The Johns Hopkins University in 1963.  Barry worked at the U of O from 1963-68 and at PSU from 1968-99.  Courses taught include Personal Decision Making, Decision Psychology I, Decision Psychology II, Decision Psychology Laboratory, Conflict Resolution, Cognition, Bioethics, Psychological Methods

 

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WINTER 2011

 


 

 

 

 Date: Friday, 3/4/11


Topic:  Educing Consensus among Experts

Discussion Leader:  David Feinstein

Although experts seldom agree, at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair, 800 judges caucus and agree on the disposition of 1,200 projects in a matter of hours. In contrast, in Harvard's Kennedy School of Government expert elicitation on biofuels, the raw survey data suggest no amount of caucusing will bring the experts to consensus. And yet, these two situations face the same underlying challenge: apportioning awards totaling a fixed budget to the most worthy contestants or technologies. What are the differences that doom consensus? When we fix these differences, we discover a consensus among our experts.



David Feinstein holds a Ph.D. in applied mathematics and a B.S. in Physics, both from the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Feinstein consults for diverse industries, designing algorithms to analyze data in the physical, chemical, biological and social sciences.

 

 

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 Date: Friday, 2/4/11

Topic: The Wellness of All: boost well being; cut consumption; heal the planet

Discussion Leader:  Peter Albert

In his earlier presentation "Psychology and Global Warming,"Peter argued that the powerful human drive for social status that causes conspicuous consumption is a major force behind greenhouse gasses and other forms of pollution.   Yet people could actually be happier with voluntary frugality, if they only saw through the delusion that ever increasing consumption makes them happy.  Living an eco-friendly lifestyle requires less sacrifice than most people think, and a key is simply to spend less money.

But how can we help people change their perceptions?

In this new presentation--"The Wellness of All"--he offers a partial solution: a mutual help group with powerful tools that boost individual wellbeing and holds out frugality both as a core value and active ingredient of wellbeing.  The group would not preach, scold, pressure, or engage in public advocacy, but simply offer concrete alternatives in the pursuit of happiness.  "The wellness of all begins with yours."

Visit www.wellnessofall.org after February 1 for a brief outline of the idea.

A lifelong student of human behavior, Peter studied mathematics and neuroscience under National Science Foundation grants and holds degrees in psychology and economics.  He has worked as a computer programmer, counselor, and consultant, and currently does private tutoring at PSU in statistics and other topics.  He is the author of ?The Owner?s Guide to Difficulties,? published on ChangeThis.com.

 

 

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Date: Friday, 1/7/11

Topic:  Finding Values in the Science of Policy Modeling

Discussion Leader:  Teresa Schmidt

Pharmaceutical opioid analgesics (a type of painkiller) are perhaps one of the most effective treatments for chronic pain. And there are over 29 million Americans with chronic pain (as of 2002), making it the nation's leading cause of disability. So the prescription and medical use of opioids has become increasingly common.

But opioid treatment is also highly controversial because it is associated with adverse outcomes for both patients and non-patients. Only a very small percentage of treated patients develop abuse or addiction to pharmaceutical opioids, but even medical use can result in adverse outcomes. In addition, the increased prevalence of opioid use by patients has been met by an increased prevalence in abuse by non-patients. In 2008 there were 4.7 million individuals 12 or older (2% of the U.S. population) who reported using pharmaceutical opioids for non-medical purposes in only the month prior to being interviewed.

Obviously, policies and regulations are needed to help us deal with this growing public health problem. And there are so many interacting components in the "pharmaceutical opioid system" that it seems like an ideal candidate for System Dynamics (SD) modeling. So, over the last year or so I have been involved in a SD modeling project with Wayne Wakeland and many other colleagues. The prototypic model that we have created allows for the simulation of three different potential policy interventions: (1) increased tamper resistance in the drug formulations, (2) decreased rates of opioid treatment, and (3) decreased rates of abuse and addiction.

Even preliminary results from this model give us a good idea of how these interventions are likely to play out. However, interpretation of the results led to more value-based judgment and reflection than we anticipated. We realized that we had to ask ourselves: Is it more important to reduce the total number of opioid-related deaths? Or is it more important to reduce the percentage of individuals who suffer adverse outcomes in the context of the number of individuals who benefit from this treatment? It turns out the "best" intervention depends on whether you value its absolute benefits or its relative benefits.

At the upcoming CSS session I would like to spend a little time sharing what we have learned from the Opioid SD model and then inviting discussion about the values and assumptions that are implicit in the model. (How) Does modeling help us to grapple with value-based questions of what is best for society? Where else can we look for answers?

Teresa Schmidt is a third-year doctoral student in the Systems Science (SYSC) program. Her educational background is in Child Development and Family Studies (B.S.), Human Development (M.A.), and now Psychology, Social Work, and Systems Methodology through the SYSC graduate program. She is interested in applying research methods to the development and evaluation of social programs, such as public health interventions, and is particularly interested in applying social network analysis (SNA) methods towards this aim.

 

 

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FALL 2010


Date: Friday, 12/3/10

Time: 4:00 to 6:00 (informal conversation at the start, main discussion at 4:30, and more technical ideas at 5:30 depending on interest)

Place: Harder House, Room 104 (HH is at 10th and Market)

Topic: Soft Systems Methods and Institutional Change

Discussion Leader: Stephan Brown

ABSTRACT:

This discussion will center on the advantages and disadvantages of using Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) to facilitate group learning about institutional change.  As part of my dissertation project examining social learning in water resource management partnerships, I recently held a half-day workshop with partnership practitioners that took them through ?change project? exercises using a ?truncated? Mode 2 (less prescriptive than Mode 1) SSM.  Before the workshop, participants representing 1 of 4 partnership cases were asked to select a type of institutional change they desired in their partnership and answered questions that explored the ?problem situation? from the technical, social, and political perspectives (Analyses 1, 2, and 3).  They were also asked to construct a rudimentary vision statement of the desired institutional change that roughly followed SSM?s root definition grammar.  I used this information to construct rich picture diagrams of each of the 4 change scenarios, supplementing ?gaps? with my own research on the cases.  These rich pictures were presented at the workshop to kick-start group discussion around possible issues associated with bringing about the desired change-in-question.  I will present on the workshop process, including how the workshop participants responded to the change project exercises and the rich picture diagrams in particular.  Topics for us to discuss include:  the collaborative nature of learning between PI and ?client;? advantages and disadvantages of using rich pictures to convey complex situations; since SSM is perspective-driven, how to ensure all relevant perspectives are reflected?; how to communicate the learning points to the client post-intervention?; language barriers associated with SSM jargon; what are the advantages and disadvantages of employing SSM in one workshop as opposed to several?; when is the more prescriptive and structured Mode 1 SSM more appropriate?

BIOSKETCH:

Stephan Brown earned a B.A. in Anthropology from Cornell University in 1992 and a M.A. in Anthropology from U.C. Davis in 1997.  Stephan subsequently moved to the Bay Area and ended up at the Alcohol Research Group in Berkeley, where he worked on several research projects related to alcohol consumption and public health outcomes.  He became interested in Systems Science after reading Gregory Bateson?s Mind and Nature.  He enrolled in the Systems Science Ph.D. program at PSU and subsequently transferred to the Ph.D. program in Urban Studies and Planning, where he is now writing his dissertation on boundary spanning, social learning, and partnership capacity in water resource management partnerships.  He has a Graduate Certificate in Computer Simulation and Modeling.  His research interests center on exploring systems thinking and modeling tools that can be used in collaborative institutional design and management.


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Date: Friday, 11/05/10

Time: 4:00 to 6:00 (informal conversation at the start, main discussion at 4:30, and more technical ideas at 5:30 depending on interest)

Place: Harder House, Room 104 (HH is at 10th and Market)

Topic:  If You Liked 'X', then You Will Love 'Y' : The Netflix Prize Competition

Discussion Leader: Ed Ramsden

The Netflix Prize Competition was an open contest held for the purpose of encouraging the development of superior consumer preference models for movies.  More than 40,000 teams registered and approximately 5000 developed models and submitted results.  Beyond learning a couple of specific data modeling techniques, some of the general ideas that I took away from participating were:

1) For highly noisy and poorly understood systems, predictive accuracy from sophisticated models may not be much better than that of simple models.

2) Developing models based on preconceived notions of system behavior may not result in particularly good predictive capabilities.  Barrels of data can sometimes beat insight and understanding.

3) A model that is 'good' for predictive purposes may not have meaningful structure or parameters.

4) Models that allow all of the data to 'diffuse' throughout seem to have better performance than those where predictions are based on smaller subsets of the data.

5) Improvements in predictive accuracy can result from 'blending' the results of several models.

BIOSKETCH:
Ed Ramsden graduated with an MS from the Systems Science Program at PSU in 2008 and now spends his days working as an applications engineer at Lattice Semiconductor, and some evenings playing with data mining and analytics techniques on his own projects.

 

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Date: Friday, 09/01/10

Time: 4:00 to 6:00 (informal conversation at the start, main discussion at 4:30, and more technical ideas at 5:30 depending on

interest)

Place: Harder House, Room 104 (HH is at 10th and Market)

Topic: Why is it so difficult to bring System Dynamics projects to satisfactory completion?

Discussion Leader: Wayne Wakeland

Wayne gave two talks at the System Dynamics Conference this summer in Seoul, Korea, both based on collaborations with current or former students (Takuro Uehara, and Una Medina).  The first regards a model of Easter Island looking at economic growth with resource constraints (leading to collapse in the EI case).  The second one talks discusses counter-terrorism and contrasts the application of system dynamics modeling and process modeling.  Some selected slides from those presentations will be used to initialize the discussion.

Neither of these projects has been completed to our satisfaction. Part of our discussion on Friday will center on why it so difficult to bring systems modeling projects to satisfactory completion.

So if you have a systems modeling project that you never quite completed to your satisfaction, please come and commiserate with Wayne and others.

We'll have snacks and beverages (including the adult variety).

 

BIOSKETCH:

Wayne Wakeland earned a B.S. in Engineering and a Master of Engineering from Harvey Mudd College in 1973, and a Ph.D. in Systems Science from PSU in 1977. Wayne began a career in industry, while teaching computer modeling and simulation courses at PSU in the evening. Eventually, Wayne became an Associate Professor of Systems Science at PSU with a continued focus on computer simulation methods. His research emphasizes sustainable systems and management, health system dynamics, fishery dynamics, criminal justice system simulation, and biomedical dynamics. Since 2007, Wayne has also taught systems thinking at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

 

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SPRING 2010


DATE: June 4, 2010

 

LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

TIME: 4:00-6:00 PM

PRESENTER: Wayne Wakeland & Gary Sotnik

TITLE: Was the Financial Crisis Really a Surprise?

ABSTRACT: 
We'll focus mostly on the Appendix starting on pg. 36 that describes 12 analysts and writers who warned of the impending crisis. (Here is a teaser.)

"Appendix: They Saw It Coming
In collecting the data presented in this Appendix in an extensive search of the relevant literature, four selection criteria were applied. Only analysts were included who provide some account on how they arrived at their conclusions. Another criterion was that analysts went beyond predicting a real estate crisis, also making the link to real-sector recessionary implications, including an analytical account of those links. Third, the actual prediction must be made by the analyst and available in the public domain, rather than being asserted by others. Finally, the prediction had to have some timing attached to it.

The twelve analysts described here
The number is entirely an outcome of the selection criteria, commented on the US, UK, Australian and Danish situations. All are (or were) analysts or commentators of global fame. They are presented in alphabetical order.

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. Baker discussed the consequences of the bubble in the US housing market in 2002, when he wrote that "While the short term effects of a housing bubble appear very beneficial, just as was the case with the stock bubble and the dollar bubble, the long term effects from its eventual deflation can be extremely harmful, both to the economy as a whole, and to tens of millions of families that will see much of their equity disappear unexpectedly. The economy will lose an important source of demand as housing construction plummets and the wealth effect goes into reverse..."

BIOSKETCHES:

Gary Sotnik is a new Ph.D. student in the Systems Science Graduate Program (just started this Spring). His background includes economics studies, and he has worked as a consultant for the U.N. (FAO office), recently in the middle east.

Wayne Wakeland earned a B.S. in Engineering and a Master of Engineering from Harvey Mudd College in 1973. In 1977 he was gratned a Ph.D. in Systems Science from Portland State University (PSU). Wayne began a career in industry, while teaching computer modeling and simulation courses at PSU in the evening. Wayne held various managerial positions in manufacturing materials, and information technology at Tektronix, Photon Kinetics, Magni Systems, Epson, and Leupold & Stevens. During this period he also led several major information system implementations. In 2000, Wayne shifted focus and became an Associate Professor of Systems Science at PSU with continued emphasis on computer simulatio methods. His current research projects are focused on reducing risks associated iwth pain medications, and on increaseing the demand for food that has been grown, produced, and transported in a sustainable fashion. Wayne has also studied the dynamics of fisheries, criminal justice systems, elevated intracranial pressure, and autoimmune system disorders. He also teaches systems thinking in the MBA in Sustainable Business program at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

 

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DATE: May 7, 2010

LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

TIME: 4:00-6:00 PM

PRESENTER: Glen Ropella, Jeff Fletcher, and Wayne Wakeland

TITLE: Continued Discussion of Tragedy of the Commons

ABSTRACT: 
We will look at the general challenges associated with commons, especially renewable natural resources such as air, water, arable land, climate etc. We will consider why the outcomes are often some form of tragedy. Finally, we will explore what might be done to improve our collective stewardship of these sorts of commons. Can we learn from our past mistakes? Could voluntary behavioral change be sufficient? Whose job is it to protect the commons we rely on? The government?

BIOSKETCHES:

Glen Ropella was trained as a systems engineer simulating missiles and their ground support systems. he then went to work at the Santa Fe Institute working on the Swarm project, where he resisted indoctrination by the computationalists. He then founded the failed Swarm Corporation and subsequently went to work for a couple of dot coms in Silicon Valley. He now works at TEmpus Dictum, which he founded in 2001 to provide custom software simulations to whoever will pay him.

Jeff Fletcher received his PhD from the PSU Systems Graduate program in 2004 and subsequently was an NSF International Postdoctoral Fellow in the Evolutionary and Theoretical Biology Research Group, Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia. He also holds a Masters in Computer Science and a Bachelors in Biology. His research focuses on evolutionary theory, especially theories of how cooperation and altruism evolve. This includes field studies on "social" spiders in Central and South America, but his research mostly employs mathematical and computer models. This has led him to an interest in how scientific modeling fits into the scientific method. Jeff currently has a joint appointment at PSU in Systems Science and University Studies.

Wayne Wakeland earned a B.S. in Engineering and a Master of Engineering from Harvey Mudd College in 1973. In 1977 he was granted a Ph.D. in Systems Science from Portland State University (PSU). Wayne began a career in industry, while teaching computer modeling and simulation courses at PSU in the evening. Wayne began a career in industry, while teaching computer modeling and simulation courses at PSU in the evening. Wayne held various managerial positions in manufacturing materials, and information technology, and Tektronix, Photon Kinetics, Magni Systems, Epson, and Leupold & Stevens. During this period he also led several major information system implementations. In 2000, Wayne shifted focus and became an Associate Professor of Systems Science at PSU with continued emphasis on computer simulation methods. His current research projects are focused on reducing risks associated with pain medicaions, and on increasing the demand for food that has been grown, produced, and transported in a sustainable fashion. Wayne has also studied the dynamics of fisheries, criminal justice systems, elevated intracranial pressure, and autoimmune system disorders. He also teaches systems thinking in the MBA in Sustainable Business program at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

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DATE: May 7, 2010

LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

TIME: 4:00-6:00 PM

PRESENTER: Jeff Fletcher & Glen Ropella

TITLE: Evolution of Cooperation Meets Tragedy of the Commons

ABSTRACT:
One starting point (from Jeff's research interests) will be to discuss the central role of assortment in the evolution of cooperation: how this perspective unifies different evolutionary biology theories about the evolution of cooperation, and how this ties into other more social ideas about how to overcome the Tragedy of the Commons. Once interactions are assorted they can generate a Simpson's Paradox effect that enables cooperators to do better than defectors overall (even though they do worse than defectors in their local interaction groups).

Another theme, this one from Glen, will be the emergence of spatial structures in cell groups and the evolution of cooperation. See the following paper: http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000716 

Glen also has an interesting conjecture about how the following two articles are related:

1.     Narcissism epidemic spreads among college students:

http://news.discovery.com/human/narcissism-epidemic-college-students.html 

2.     Poll: Health care plan gains favor

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-03-23-health-poll-favorable_N.htm

BIOSKETCHES:  
Jeff Fletcher received his PhD from the PSU Systems Graduate program in 2004 and subsequently was an NSF International Postdoctoral Fellow in the Evolutionary and Theoretical Biology Research Group, Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia. He also holds a Masters in Computer Science and a Bachelors in Biology. His research focuses on evolutionary theory, especially theories of how cooperation and altruism evolve. This includes field studies on "social" spiders in Central and South America, but his research mostly employs mathematical and computer models. This has led him to an interest in how scientific modeling fits into the scientific method. Jeff currently has a joint appointment at PSU in Systems Science and University Studies.

Glen Ropella was trained as a systems engineer simulating missiles and their ground support systems. He then went to work at the Sante Fe Institute working on the Swarm project, where he resisted indoctrination by the computationalists. He then founded the failed Swarm Cooperation and subsequently went to work for a couple of dot coms in Silicon Valley. He now works at Tempus Dictum, which he founded in 2001 to provide software and simulations to whoever will pay him.

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WINTER 2010


DATE: March 5, 2010

LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

TIME: 4:00-5:30 PM

PRESENTER: Rich Jolly

TITLE: System Dynamics and Adam Smith's Invisible Hand

ABSTRACT: In chapter 20 'The Invisible Hand Sometimes Shakes: Commodity Cycles' of the System Dynamics classic Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World (2000)  Sterman  describes the use of system dynamics ideas and models to the study of commodity cycles.    In this session we want to discuss and debate the potential uses and practical value of these models.    Questions include:

·         How do these models compare and contrast with standard Econometric models?
·         How could (do) market participants use these models?
·         How could these models help bridge Systems Science and Economics - see Radzicki (2009)

We hope to have in attendance:

·         Modelers with working system dynamic commodity models to demonstrate and discuss
·         Some economists to bring their perspective to the discussion
·         Some members of industry to bring the practical value perspective.

If you have any material to share, please email Rich Jolly (rdjolly@pdx.edu).

BIOSKETCH: Rich Jolly is a PhD candidate in Systems Science and Business  Administration at PSU.   His interest is in the application of systems  science tools and methodologies to business problems -  in particular  the flow in information in organizations.  Prediction markets are  emerging as a valuable tool for organizations to break the prisoners  dilemma of information sharing.   Rich is working on the fundamental  mechanisms of prediction markets and in particular the role of feedback in market structures.

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DATE: February 5, 2010

LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

TIME: 4:00-6:00 PM

PRESENTER: Josh Hughes

TITLE: Criticisms of Systems Science

ABSTRACT:

A new year often begins with a sense of optimism, but we (ever the contrarians) will begin it with a healthy dose of pessimism. Our first CSS seminar of the year will be a discussion about criticisms of systems science, a topic recently discussed at the Systems Science Department's first Friday lunch seminar--one which stimulated a lively and interesting discussion.

As Winston Churchill said, "Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." Is the systems project in an unhealthy state? Since its emergence in the 1940s and 1950s, a number of people have believed that to be the case, and a few have issued strong--and long--critiques of the systems view. As George Klir notes--his 2001 book Facets of System Science will provide a good deal of the material for our discussion--some of this criticism was ill-conceived and easily refuted; but some was indeed justified, and addressing the "unhealthy" aspects of systems science changed it for the better. No doubt it behooves the systems thinker to be familiar with these criticisms both justified and unjustified: knowing the "justified" criticisms will (hopefully) prevent us from repeating the mistakes of the past and provide us with a deeper understanding of the systems project's development; knowing the "unjustified" criticisms can provide us with an understanding of how the systems field is perceived by those outside it and (perhaps) motivate us to improve the way we communicate our ideas. 

Here is a summary of some of the major criticisms of systems science (Umbach, 2000):
  • The concepts of system and model are too general.
  • Structural similarities (analogies and isomorphisms) cannot be realized by empirical study to a sufficient degree.
  • The importance of interdisciplinary concepts such as open systems, hierarchies, feedback, self-organization, emergence, and networks are exaggerated in importance and do not exclusively belong to systems science.
  • A universal scientific language based on systems science is impossible.
  • Not all areas of reality—and especially society—can be sensibly quantified and mathematically modeled.
  • Holistic thinking is not subject to empirical methods and therefore is unscientific.
  • Empirical studies should not be replaced by simulation.
  • System approaches to major world problems are often based on frivolous data foundations, methodological limitations not subject to careful reflection, exaggerated expectations based on mathematical models and computers, attacking the dominant preference for economic growth, and propagation of fears of catastrophe.
    Well-publicized criticisms from the 1950s and until the present day will be presented one at a time so that we can discuss whether or not they are or were justified and talk about how they have been addressed by the systems community in the past.  This can also be an opportunity for us to discuss issues within the systems project that you may feel are preventing its further advancement.

    BIOSKETCH:  Joshua Hughes is a second year, core-option PhD student and graduate assistant in the PSU Systems Science Graduate Program. He is working on research with George Lendaris on contextual reinforcement learning and experience-based identification and control; he is also collaborating with Martin Zwick on a few papers that show how systems theories might provide insights into some contemporary problems. He is interested in information theory, cybernetics, reconstructability analysis, neural networks, fuzzy logic, catastrophe theory, game theory, and many other things.  Josh has a B.S. in civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  He has over ten years experience working as a geotechnical engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Portland-Vancouver Area providing investigations, recommendations, and oversight for a variety of residential, commercial, and public works projects.





    FALL 2009


    DATE: November 6, 2009

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    TIME: 4:00-5:30 PM

    PRESENTER:Wayne Wakeland

    TITLE: Systems Thinking

    ABSTRACT: Systems Thinking - What does it mean current?     
    What should it mean in the future?
    How is it done?    
    Why is it done?   
    When should it be done?     
    Who should do it?
    What are its strengths?   
    What are its limitations?
    How is it similar to and different from the system dynamics approach?
    To what degree can ST be done purely qualitatively?
    Etc.   Etc.
     
    TECHNICAL ABSTRACT: We will contrast causal loop diagrams, flow diagrams, and system dynamics models in terms of what can and cannot be inferred behaviorally from each of these classes of models, using specific examples.

    BIO:Wayne earned a B.S. in Engineering and a Master of Engineering from Harvey Mudd College in 1973. In 1977 he was gratned a Ph.D. in Systems Science from Portland State University (PSU). Wayne began a career in industry, while teaching computer modeling and simulation courses at PSU in the evening. Wayne held various managerial positions in manufacturing materials, and information technology at Tektronix, Photon Kinetics, Magni Systems, Epson, and Leupold & Stevens. During this period he also led several major information system implementations. In 2000, Wayne shifted focus and became an Associate Professor of Systems Science at PSU with continued emphasis on computer simulatio methods. His current research projects are focused on reducing risks associated iwth pain medications, and on increaseing the demand for food that has been grown, produced, and transported in a sustainable fashion. Wayne has also studied the dynamics of fisheries, criminal justice systems, elevated intracranial pressure, and autoimmune system disorders. He also teaches systems thinking in the MBA in Sustainable Business program at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

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    DATE: October 2, 2009

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    TIME: 4:00-5:30 PM

    PRESENTER: Peter Albert

    TITLE: Psychology And Global Warming: Can we save ourselves from ourselves?

    ABSTRACT: Discussions of the global warming crisis generally focus on
    technological solutions, and neglect behavioral science.  But human
    behavior is the root of the problem.

    Drawing on information from psychology and behavioral economics, Peter
    will argue that people can be happy with sustainable lifestyles, but
    powerful forces, both external and internal, drive people to high
    levels of consumption.

    Can humanity change itself fast enough to save the planet?

    Peter believes we need Systems Science to integrate information from
    ecology, psychology, and economics in order to chart a course away
    from global catastrophe toward a rich, fulfilling, and sustainable
    lifestyle for all.

    Peter present information that is usually missing from discussions of
    global warming, which will, no doubt, stimulate a lively discussion.

    BIO: A lifelong student of human behavior, Peter studied mathematics and
    neuroscience under National Science Foundation grants and holds
    degrees in psychology and economics.  He has worked as a computer
    programmer, counselor, and consultant, and currently does private
    tutoring at PSU in statistics and other topics.  He is the author of
    ?The Owner?s Guide to Difficulties,? published on ChangeThis.com.

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