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Courses One Page Flyer Fall 2008

SySc 513: Systems Approach

Provides a practitioner-oriented introduction to systems, including:

  • observer dependencies & context
  • meta-systems & subsystems
  • value systems and associated optimization/sub-optimization
  • life-cycle project management
  • inquiring systems
  • learning organizations
  • multiple perspectives.

Also explores qualitative aspects systems analysis tools such as graphs, structural modeling, and dynamic modeling.

For more information: Systems Approach Course Description

SySc 510: Systems Ideas & Sustainability

This course will examine systems ideas that bear on sustainability. These ideas come from graph theory, game and decision theory, and thermodynamics, and from systems-related theories in ecology, sociology, and history. The ideas shed light on the causes of sustainability problems and on the principles that might guide attempts to solve these problems.

The course is still under construction, so a syllabus is not yet available. In part, it will be an adaptation of SySc 521, Systems Philosophy, which presents a broad range of systems ideas, integrates them into a coherent framework, and organizes them around the theme of fundamental ¿problems,¿ that is, difficulties (imperfections, modes of failure) encountered by many systems of widely differing types. This new course (SIS) will focus on the more specific yet still quite diverse problems associated with sustainability, to which many systems ideas are relevant. Many of these ideas that will be presented in this course are mathematically-based, but these will be approached primarily at a conceptual level (with mathematical details provided as requested).

For more information: Systems Ideas & Sustainability Course Description

SySc 529/629: Business Process Modeling & Simulation

The primary emphasis is on using discrete system models to analyze administrative, decision-making, product development, manufacturing, and service delivery processes. Discrete system models characterize the system as a flow of entities that enter and move through various processes and queues according to probability functions specified by the modeler. Monte Carlo sampling is used to calculate statistical measures of system performance, such as throughput, average queue length, resource utilization, etc. Some processes may also exhibit continuous characteristics, in which case continuous model constructs may be deployed. Continuous system models utilize the numerical integration of differential equations to simulate behavior over time. Such models are often used for studying the systems containing feedback loops, where the outputs are "fed back" and compared with control inputs. Process measurement and the unique challenges of modeling the software development process will also be covered in some detail.

For more information:

SySc 525/625: Agent Based Simulation

This course focuses on the technical and theoretical aspects of agent-based programming. During this class students will learn how to use StarLogo to create agent-based models and use agent-based simulations in research and education. Reading assignments focus on the history and theories behind agent-based programming and the decentralized perspective.

For more information: