Matching Items (5)

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Musical Improvisation Insights into Systems Thinking

Description

Sustainability is intrinsically interdisciplinary, but the implementation of nontraditional pedagogy in this area is in its infancy. I aim to show that music can be a model to demonstrate the

Sustainability is intrinsically interdisciplinary, but the implementation of nontraditional pedagogy in this area is in its infancy. I aim to show that music can be a model to demonstrate the protean systems that consistently involve each of us. The connection between systems thinking and musical improvisation is evident in musical improvisation ensembles; it is a system unto itself with individual players connected through their musical composition. Musical improvisation allows the players to learn about systems and system behaviors. Such ability to identify and understand the underlying dynamics involved in complex social-ecological systems is fundamental to taking advantage of leverage points and working towards a sustainable future. I use music and musical improvisation to demonstrate the three concept groups of the systems thinking competency: 1) Variables, structures and functions 2) Resilience, self-organization and hierarchy and 3) Scales and domains. These parts constitute complex systems and are made easier with the analogy of music that provides a more representative language for discussing them in an intuitive way. Furthermore, improvisation activities provide a method and space for these future practitioners to rehearse working with systems. From accepting the nature of systems, one is accepting of their role in the system, which enables them to make changes. Musical improvisation is a valuable method to systems thinking because it requires future practitioners to engage in mindfulness, because it demands remaining in an intuitive stance so to be able to respond (not react) thoughtfully. My thesis will explore how the practice of musical improvisation can enhance the understanding of the three systems thinking content groups and to argue that such practice is unique and necessary as it provides opportunities to rehearse being effective change agents.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Engineering Lean, Packaged Energy Systems for Rapid, Economical Deployment and Distributed Generation

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The following document addresses two grand challenges posed to engineers: to make solar energy economically viable and to restore and improve urban infrastructure. Design solutions to these problems consist of

The following document addresses two grand challenges posed to engineers: to make solar energy economically viable and to restore and improve urban infrastructure. Design solutions to these problems consist of the preliminary designs of two energy systems: a Packaged Photovoltaic (PPV) energy system and a natural gas based Modular Micro Combined Cycle (MMCC) with 3D renderings. Defining requirements and problem-solving approach methodology for generating complex design solutions required iterative design and a thorough understanding of industry practices and market trends. This paper briefly discusses design specifics; however, the major emphasis is on aspects pertaining to economical manufacture, deployment, and subsequent suitability to address the aforementioned challenges. The selection of these systems is based on the steady reduction of PV installation costs in recent years (average among utility, commercial, and residential down 27% from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013) and the dramatic decline in natural gas prices to $5.61 per thousand cubic feet. In addition, a large number of utility scale coal-based power plants will be retired in 2014, many due to progressive emission criteria, creating a demand for additional power systems to offset the capacity loss and to increase generating capacity in order to facilitate the ever-expanding world population. The proposed energy systems are not designed to provide power to the masses through a central location. Rather, they are intended to provide economical, reliable, and high quality power to remote locations and decentralized power to community-based grids. These energy systems are designed as a means of transforming and supporting the current infrastructure through distributed electricity generation.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Automated monitoring and control systems for an algae photobioreactor

Description

There has been considerable advancement in the algae research field to move algae production for biofuels and bio-products forward to become commercially viable. However, there is one key element that

There has been considerable advancement in the algae research field to move algae production for biofuels and bio-products forward to become commercially viable. However, there is one key element that humans cannot control, the natural externalities that impact production. An algae cultivation system is similar to agricultural crop farming practices. Algae are grown on an area of land for a certain time period with the aim of harvesting the biomass produced. One of the advantages of using algae biomass is that it can be used as a source of energy in the form of biofuels. Major advances in algae research and development practices have led to new knowledge about the remarkable potential of algae to serve as a sustainable source of biofuel. The challenge is to make the price of biofuels from algae cost-competitive with the price of petroleum-based fuels. The scope of this research was to design a concept for an automated system to control specific externalities and determine if integrating the system in an algae cultivation system could improve the algae biomass production process. This research required the installation and evaluation of an algae cultivation process, components selection and computer software programming for an automated system. The results from the automated system based on continuous real time monitored variables validated that the developed system contributes insights otherwise not detected from a manual measurement approach. The implications of this research may lead to technology that can be used as a base model to further improve algae cultivation systems.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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A framework for screening experiments and modelling in complex systems

Description

Complex systems are pervasive in science and engineering. Some examples include complex engineered networks such as the internet, the power grid, and transportation networks. The complexity of such systems arises

Complex systems are pervasive in science and engineering. Some examples include complex engineered networks such as the internet, the power grid, and transportation networks. The complexity of such systems arises not just from their size, but also from their structure, operation (including control and management), evolution over time, and that people are involved in their design and operation. Our understanding of such systems is limited because their behaviour cannot be characterized using traditional techniques of modelling and analysis.

As a step in model development, statistically designed screening experiments may be used to identify the main effects and interactions most significant on a response of a system. However, traditional approaches for screening are ineffective for complex systems because of the size of the experimental design. Consequently, the factors considered are often restricted, but this automatically restricts the interactions that may be identified as well. Alternatively, the designs are restricted to only identify main effects, but this then fails to consider any possible interactions of the factors.

To address this problem, a specific combinatorial design termed a locating array is proposed as a screening design for complex systems. Locating arrays exhibit logarithmic growth in the number of factors because their focus is on identification rather than on measurement. This makes practical the consideration of an order of magnitude more factors in experimentation than traditional screening designs.

As a proof-of-concept, a locating array is applied to screen for main effects and low-order interactions on the response of average transport control protocol (TCP) throughput in a simulation model of a mobile ad hoc network (MANET). A MANET is a collection of mobile wireless nodes that self-organize without the aid of any centralized control or fixed infrastructure. The full-factorial design for the MANET considered is infeasible (with over 10^{43} design points) yet a locating array has only 421 design points.

In conjunction with the locating array, a ``heavy hitters'' algorithm is developed to identify the influential main effects and two-way interactions, correcting for the non-normal distribution of the average throughput, and uneven coverage of terms in the locating array. The significance of the identified main effects and interactions is validated independently using the statistical software JMP.

The statistical characteristics used to evaluate traditional screening designs are also applied to locating arrays.

These include the matrix of covariance, fraction of design space, and aliasing, among others. The results lend additional support to the use of locating arrays as screening designs.

The use of locating arrays as screening designs for complex engineered systems is promising as they yield useful models. This facilitates quantitative evaluation of architectures and protocols and contributes to our understanding of complex engineered networks.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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William Blake and systems theory: the attempted unification of history and psychology

Description

William Blake created a large body of artistic work over his lifetime, all of which is a testament to a unique man, a man who would not live by standards

William Blake created a large body of artistic work over his lifetime, all of which is a testament to a unique man, a man who would not live by standards that he felt were binding and inadequate. Blake stated that he needed to create his own system so as not to be enslaved by a paradigm not of his own making. The result of this drive can be seen in his mythology and the meaning that he attempts to inscribe upon his own world. Throughout the corpus of his writings, Blake was working with complex systems. Beginning with contraries in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and The Songs of Innocence & Experience, he then took his work in the contraries and applied it to history and psychology in Europe a Prophecy and The First Book of Urizen. In Blake's use of history and psychology, he was actually broaching the idea of social systems and how they interact with and effect psychic systems. This paper looks at the genesis of Blake's systems through the contraries, up to the point where he attempts to bring social and psychological systems together into a universal system. He uses projection and introjection to try to close the gap in double contingency. However, grappling with this problem (as well as the issue of a universal system) proves to be too much when he reaches The Four Zoas. In his later works, some of these issues are resolved, but ultimately Blake is not able create a universal system.

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Date Created
  • 2012