International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics

2nd Edition, as published by Charles François 2004 Presented by the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science Vienna for public access.


The International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics was first edited and published by the system scientist Charles François in 1997. The online version that is provided here was based on the 2nd edition in 2004. It was uploaded and gifted to the center by ASC president Michael Lissack in 2019; the BCSSS purchased the rights for the re-publication of this volume in 200?. In 2018, the original editor expressed his wish to pass on the stewardship over the maintenance and further development of the encyclopedia to the Bertalanffy Center. In the future, the BCSSS seeks to further develop the encyclopedia by open collaboration within the systems sciences. Until the center has found and been able to implement an adequate technical solution for this, the static website is made accessible for the benefit of public scholarship and education.


ASSESSMENT in systemic terms 1)4)

A. CASELLES proposes "a theoretical approach to all kinds of forecasting and control problems" considering "General Systems Theory…specially adequate to the most difficult ones" (1993, p. 1285-89)

Applying his proposal to technology assessment, he suggests a frame "to begin the identification process of the elements and connections involved… in each technology assessment case", as well as a mathematical model taking in account the following factors:

- Required services depending on population implicated and on unitary demand respect to each service;

- Population implicated (based on a demographic submodel);

- Unitary demand (for example, all urban transport made by private cars makes the unitary demand of street surface higher than when public transport is used);

- Effective capacity to produce services;

- Resources to services; an input variable that enters the resources distribution among services, made by managers;

- Resources required by each technology;

- Offered services (producing an income);

- Resources consumption and operation (which produce a cost)"

R. PETRELLA (Director of the Program "Forecasting and Assessment in Science and Technology" of the European Union) writes: "… Technology Assessment is the set of procedures and means at the disposal of a society for the understanding of the nature and impact of scientific mutations, development and uses of technologies and for research about their usefulness, their economical feasibility, their social relevance and value" (1993)

This confirms that assessment, specially in technological matters, is much more than a simple study of technical and economical adequacy of some innovation, confirming the usefulness of CASELLES' proposed systemic methodology.

However, his list of technical criteria should be expanded in order to take in account some other important aspects, as for instance: Costs of resources renewal , or impact of their exhaustion; impact on ecosystems; social benefits and costs; probable duration of usefulness, etc…

To make this clearer, CASELLES' criteria, if applied for example to the realization of the Kazakhstan irrigation scheme – which ruined the whole Aral Sea ecosystem and the human system depending on it – would have passed it with flying colors. The purely technical and economical criteria applied where wholly insufficient to predict possible side-effects of different types.


  • 1) General information
  • 2) Methodology or model
  • 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
  • 4) Human sciences
  • 5) Discipline oriented


Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science(2020).

To cite this page, please use the following information:

Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]

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