What Is A System?

A system can be anything that has these 3 basic components built into it:

  • One or more number of Inputs
  • One or more number of Outputs
  • A process working on input to produce the output

So conceptually, we can can draw a system using the following block diagram:

A generic system that takes in input, processes it and produces an output.
A generic system that takes in input, processes it and produces an output.

But not all produced output by a system will be useful. Because many times, the output consists of both useful component along with additional side-effect components that may or may not be useful.

I know you may be confused at this point. But it will become very clear when we look at a system using an example.

So, the best example of a system can be an automobile like a car.

So if you look at a car, you will see that it takes in gasoline as its input and processes it to produce output in the form of movement. But giving us transportation is not the only thing a car does. Because, as a result of burning fuel, it also expels pollutants like smoke, heat etc. along with movement.

So in the case of a car we can say that – Gasoline is the input, engine is the system that processes the gasoline to produce output in the form our desired outcome – movement. But along with it, it also produces unwanted output such as smoke, heat, noise etc.

But it is not just an automobile that can be termed as a system. Because almost everything that we humans have built so far are all systems that takes in certain input and produces certain output.

So what other examples can you think of that is a system? I want you to think about it for some time to try and answer this question. Once you have thought enough, look at the next paragraph to see if you had anything matching to this list.

Here are a few examples of a system:

  • Computers
  • Electrical Stove
  • Fan
  • Heater
  • Aeroplanes
  • Trains etc.

So that is all there is to a system. I hope this made it clear for you. But if you still have some doubts regarding it, do let me know in the comment section below and I will be happy to answer!