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.



The situation of a component or a subsystem within a system of higher complexity, to which it is subservient.

B. BANATHY writes:"…most systems embed other types (of systems)… In complex systems – as a rule- we find various layers of embeddedness of systems that represent several types. It is important to recognize the potential of such embeddedness and the need to approach the various embedded and embedding systems with the use of methods that are appropriate to the particular system type. For example, an industry based corporation may have embedded in it a large number of assembly line (rigidly controlled type) systems, that are embedded in several production (deterministic type) systems, that are embedded in corporate management (purposive type) systems. Another arrangement of embeddedness can be observed in a large research and development organization. Specific projects in such an organization operate as deterministic systems. Project goals and objectives are set by grant or contractual arrangements with freedom limited to selecting means/methods. Projects are clustered in programs that operate as purposive systems. and programs cluster in program areas that are of the heuristics type. The R&D organization that embeds these program areas behaves as a purpose seeking system type in constant search of new domains of research, new niches in the environment. Designing a project system that has clearly defined programmatic, financial, legal and time boundaries requires a design approach and methods that are very different from those that are to be used in designing or redesigning the entire R&D organization as a purpose seeking system, which has only broadly based policy guidance and rather open program boundaries"(1988, p.30).

NUMELLA CAINE and M. CAINE write: "… the fact is always embedded in multiple contexts, and a subject is always related to many other issues and subjects. The capacity of schools and society to optimize learning and realize the potential of the human brain depends on their capacity to deal with their interconnectedness." (1994)

A. ZELEZNIKAR, referring himself to information, writes: "… embedding is an accumulative and integrative process in informational sense". It is the basic principle of appropriation of information by information. By embedding, the outside or inside unconnected information comes into consideration by the entity wich embeds" (1993, p.58).

Embedding dimension: "The number of dimensions needed to completely encompass an attractor" (J. CASTI, 1994, p.105).

Noninteger dimensional numbers are "strongly indicative of underlying chaos lurking in the data" (Ibid.).

Embedding (Transitive): "A process in which intellectual technology is employed to convert a set of collective perceptions into a matrix model of the structure of a system" (J. WARFIELD, 1989, p.298).

Such model "represents an intermediate product in a larger process aimed at developing insight into complex systems through the development of interpretive structural models" (Ibid).


  • 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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