The state at which a specific change in the value of the variable produces a discontinuity (or jump) in a step function. (After W.R. ASHBY, 1960, p.91).
ASHBY gives as an example: "The critical state of an electric fuse is the number of amperes which will cause it to blow" (p.91)
There are also numerous mechanical and physiological examples of such jumps or discontinuities leading instantaneously to a quite different state of the system.
This type of events is akin to THOM's catastrophes but somewhat different to the critical state in composite systems.
ASHBY's critical state may be the harbinger of the systems breakdown, a totally irreversible event, while criticality in composite systems tends to self-reconstruction. However, even in strongly integrated systems, the step function may undergo periodic returns to the critical state.
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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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