We need systems in order to lead the outcomes from the technologies to innovations that will bring social value. Different systems for industrial products and transportation facilities; lifelines of electric power, water supply, and gas; and communications, such as telephony and the Internet, support our daily lives in every aspect. Under the circumstances, the functions and performance required of those systems are heightened as society develops. To satisfy the requirements, the systems must be larger and more complicated, and we must solve a number of new problems in order to establish better systems for society. The technology to solve these problems is systems science and technology.
The Systems Science Unit has defined systems science and technology as the unit consisting of the scientific basis to exactly analyze systems and establish and manage desired systems and the technological methods to achieve them and reviewed how systems science and technology should be based on our own viewpoint (overall framework) and the strategy to advance system technologies. As a result, we extracted the following seven overall sections in this overview report:
Modeling in the broadest sense is to express an existent entity or object to be extent in a space of thoughts (usually on a computer) by use of an objective method. Modeling is the precondition of control, optimization, and simulation and is always required for reasonable decision-making related to the recognition and establishment of a system, including prediction, conjecture, and design. In this sense, the field of modeling is the center of the overall systems science and technology.
This is a field that is related to the production of operations that are necessary for a system to correspond to unfavorable inputs and changes in the environment to maintain its inherent functions. The basic unit is a combination of control targets and controlling machines, which are complicated systems. Recently, systematic theories have been established for the design of fine control systems based on models and broadly used in the design of control systems of actual systems.
This is a system for mathematical theories, methods, and algorithm used to understand and model targets as systems, and to make optimal decisions in various scenes such as system design and planning, business management, and daily activity. The optimization is not only a computational method, but also is important as a technology to establish systems and models. In the future, the important study fields will include optimization problems under circumstances where the objective functions (evaluations in decision making) cannot be calculated explicitly.
The network is a concept that focuses on multiple elements and links, and the Internet, local communities, organizations, and societies can be considered types of networks. With a network theory, we consider the target as a network, extract and analyze structural characteristics, and further predict and control the dynamics of the network. It also includes development of concrete computing software.
In general, a complex system is where nonlinear elements interact in nonlinear ways, resulting in hierarchical feedbacks between the element group and the whole. That is, the whole consists of a collection of parts, and each part is defined by the characteristics of the whole, which makes a hierarchical circulation. This is a field where we can use modern methods, such as the mathematical modeling and econophysics to elucidate the structures and dynamics of complex systems that would not be understood by only either one of the theory of elemental reduction or the holism. The range of targets is very broad from life science systems to socioeconomic systems.
A service is creation of values performed mutually (mutual creation) by the service provider and service users wherein the service provider provides the service users with the desired support activities to change their situation, bringing value to them, and as a result the service provider obtains compensation in exchange. We consider a service system as a system that optimizes service value from this relationship. By taking system-scientific approaches, this field will contribute greatly to development of the service industry.
System construction methodology
This is the edifice of knowledge and tools to give a solution for an actual and complex social subject that involves so many stakeholders and has difficulties identifying its true nature in the initial phase through a consolidation of stakeholders' requests and an identification of the problem to be solved by using system concepts and models. The system construction consists of a series of actions, including analyses, design, social implementation, operation, and maintenance. These days, this has become more important as a social technology due to diversification of the value demanded by people.
Overview of systems science and technology fields
Supported by many experts, we reviewed the individual overview sections. Collecting the obtained knowledge, the above diagram expresses the relative relationships among the systems in society, the systems science and technology, and the other technologies. The vertical axis is the route along which the different technologies are utilized in society through systems science and technology. That is, the diagram shows that system technologies in the center summarize the individual fields described at the bottom in a crosscut manner and finally build the different systems described on top, which are implemented in society. The horizontal axis expresses the route along which the objective system functions change to subjective values. In other words, efficient functioning of the systems leads to creation of value. The vertical and horizontal axes do not necessarily cut orthogonally across each other. By setting these two axes, the diagram shows, along with the directions, the roles of systems science and technology and the relative positioning of the characteristics of each overview section. In each overview section, multiple research and development fields are set as described in the frames. For each field, we analyzed Japan’s capability for research and development, including international comparison with the USA, Europe, China, and Korea.