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Title: Stephen Jay Kline on systems, or physics, complex systems, and the gap between.

Abstract

At the end of his life, Stephen Jay Kline, longtime professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford University, completed a book on how to address complex systems. The title of the book is 'Conceptual Foundations of Multi-Disciplinary Thinking' (1995), but the topic of the book is systems. Kline first establishes certain limits that are characteristic of our conscious minds. Kline then establishes a complexity measure for systems and uses that complexity measure to develop a hierarchy of systems. Kline then argues that our minds, due to their characteristic limitations, are unable to model the complex systems in that hierarchy. Computers are of no help to us here. Our attempts at modeling these complex systems are based on the way we successfully model some simple systems, in particular, 'inert, naturally-occurring' objects and processes, such as what is the focus of physics. But complex systems overwhelm such attempts. As a result, the best we can do in working with these complex systems is to use a heuristic, what Kline calls the 'Guideline for Complex Systems.' Kline documents the problems that have developed due to 'oversimple' system models and from the inappropriate application of a system model from one domain to another. One prominentmore » such problem is the Procrustean attempt to make the disciplines that deal with complex systems be 'physics-like.' Physics deals with simple systems, not complex ones, using Kline's complexity measure. The models that physics has developed are inappropriate for complex systems. Kline documents a number of the wasteful and dangerous fallacies of this type.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Laboratories
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1022185
Report Number(s):
SAND2011-4500
TRN: US201118%%334
DOE Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
42 ENGINEERING; COMPUTERS; MECHANICAL ENGINEERING; PHYSICS; SIMULATION

Citation Formats

Campbell, Philip LaRoche. Stephen Jay Kline on systems, or physics, complex systems, and the gap between.. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.2172/1022185.
Campbell, Philip LaRoche. Stephen Jay Kline on systems, or physics, complex systems, and the gap between.. United States. doi:10.2172/1022185.
Campbell, Philip LaRoche. 2011. "Stephen Jay Kline on systems, or physics, complex systems, and the gap between.". United States. doi:10.2172/1022185. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1022185.
@article{osti_1022185,
title = {Stephen Jay Kline on systems, or physics, complex systems, and the gap between.},
author = {Campbell, Philip LaRoche},
abstractNote = {At the end of his life, Stephen Jay Kline, longtime professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford University, completed a book on how to address complex systems. The title of the book is 'Conceptual Foundations of Multi-Disciplinary Thinking' (1995), but the topic of the book is systems. Kline first establishes certain limits that are characteristic of our conscious minds. Kline then establishes a complexity measure for systems and uses that complexity measure to develop a hierarchy of systems. Kline then argues that our minds, due to their characteristic limitations, are unable to model the complex systems in that hierarchy. Computers are of no help to us here. Our attempts at modeling these complex systems are based on the way we successfully model some simple systems, in particular, 'inert, naturally-occurring' objects and processes, such as what is the focus of physics. But complex systems overwhelm such attempts. As a result, the best we can do in working with these complex systems is to use a heuristic, what Kline calls the 'Guideline for Complex Systems.' Kline documents the problems that have developed due to 'oversimple' system models and from the inappropriate application of a system model from one domain to another. One prominent such problem is the Procrustean attempt to make the disciplines that deal with complex systems be 'physics-like.' Physics deals with simple systems, not complex ones, using Kline's complexity measure. The models that physics has developed are inappropriate for complex systems. Kline documents a number of the wasteful and dangerous fallacies of this type.},
doi = {10.2172/1022185},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2011,
month = 6
}

Technical Report:

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  • This manual is intended to serve as a technical guide for the Resident Engineer and his personnel, together with such personnel of the Construction Division who are directly responsible for the construction. These engineering considerations and instructions are intended to explain the various considerations and assumptions, especially regarding field conditions, involved in the design and in the preparation of the contract plans and specifications. They are also for the purpose of commenting upon and explaining certain requirements of the specifications and to establish the requirements necessary to provide Government acceptance testing. Contents: Instructions on Soils and Geology Technical Specifications; Soilsmore » and Geology Drawings; Concrete and Concrete Materials; Structural Design and Erection Considerations; Mechanical; Electrical.« less
  • Tests were conducted to provide a prototype evaluation of the operating conditions of the project and to evaluate the adequacy of the repairs and remedial work performed in the channel downstream of the tailrace. Prototype measurements were made to define the relative magnitudes of velocities and the surface flow patterns in the channel downstream of the tailrace and the displacement, if any, of the stone protection material resulting from various turbine operations and tailwater conditions. Results of the data collection included determination of (a) velocity distribution at various ranges across the channel; (b) velocity profiles at the toe of themore » slope and at the observed location of highest velocity; and (c) unusual surface flow patterns that are produced by different combinations of turbine operations. Recommendations for start-up and shut-down procedures for the turbine operations that would produce the most acceptable. The depth soundings revealed that the stone protection material was quite stable (District surveys reveal that no appreciable displacement has occurred during the subsequent months of operation of the powerhouse.) The flow velocities were found to concentrate along the right side of the channel as a result of uneven flow distribution from the draft tube bays and the asymmetrical geometry along the left side of the tailrace. Return flows were observed and found to concentrate along the left side of the channel except when all three turbines were operating. Operating recommendations for the turbines are made based on tailwater conditions, length of time of nonoperation of the powerhouse, and the velocity data obtained from the tests.« less
  • This report presents results of studies to predict the mortality rate of juvenile blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) and American shad (A. sapidissima) associated with reduced pressure as they pass downstream through a proposed siphon water lift system at St. Stephen Dam, South Carolina. The primary function of the siphon is to increase attracting flow to better guide upstream migrating adult herring of both species into the existing fish lift for upstream passage. The US Army Engineer District, Charleston, wishes to consider the siphon as an alternative bypass route through the dam for downstream migrating juvenile and adult herring. A pressure-reductionmore » testing system that emulates some of the pressure characteristics of the siphon was used to determine the approximate percentage of juvenile fishes that could be reasonably expected to be killed passing through the reduced pressures anticipated for the siphon water lift system. The testing system could duplicate the range of pressure change anticipated for the siphon lift system but could not obtain pressures lower than 4.1 psi, whereas pressures for some design alternatives may approach the theoretical minimum pressure of 0.0 psi. Study results indicate that the mortality rate is probably about 20 percent. Power analysis indicates that mortality rate above 30 percent is unlikely. Conducting additional mortality studies is recommended to refine predicted mortality rates. Measures should be taken to prevent juvenile fish from entering the siphon lift system if excessive mortality rates are observed.« less
  • In December 1997, Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline Management Ltd. received approval to construct and operate a natural gas pipeline consisting of about 558 kilometers of 762-millimeter pipe to be located within a one-kilometer-wide corridor extending from Goldboro, Nova Scotia to the international border near St. Stephen, New Brunswick. This report covers the second stage of the pipeline approval process where the detailed route is determined. It presents the views of the pipeline company, various landowners and mineral rights holders objecting to the proposed detailed route, and the National Energy Board with regard to two issues: The best possible detailed routemore » for the pipeline, and the most appropriate methods and timing of constructing the pipeline. Specific land/mineral rights owner cases including the nature of the objection, possible alternate routes, and the Board decision in each case are described.« less
  • This report documents a model study of the St. Stephen Power Plant, located in Berkely County, South Carolina. A previous model study revealed that the fish lift at the powerhouse could be improved by providing auxiliary attraction flows to the fish entrances. An auxiliary attraction flow (AAF) system was proposed that uses a siphon to obtain the auxiliary attraction water from the reservoir. The model investigations reported herein address the flow conditions at the discharge end of the siphon; the hydraulic aspects of the siphon are not addressed. Three different models were used to evaluate flow conditions at the dischargemore » end of the AAF system. A 1:25-scale model of the St. Stephen powerhouse was used to improve the fish entrance conditions and to evaluate the outlet conditions for the initial AAF system. As the investigations progressed, the design of the siphon discharge system was modified to include downstream fish migration and debris passage.« less