The semiotics of Control and Modeling Relations in Complex Systems

Cliff Joslyn
Distribtued Knowledge Systems and Modeling Team
Modeling, Algorithms, and Informatics Group (CCS-3)
Los Alamos National Laboratory, MS B265
Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA

Joslyn, C. [2001]. "The semiotics of control and modeling relations in complex systems".Biosystems. Vol 60, pp. 131-148.

This paper is available from the author's ftp site in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. It is also available from Elsevier's web site.

Abstract: We provide a conceptual analysis of ideas and principles from the systems theory discourse which underlie Pattee's semantic or semiotic closure, which is itself foundational for a school of theoretical biology derived from systems theory and cybernetics, and is now being related to biological semiotics and explicated in the relational biological school of Rashevsky and Rosen. Atomic control systems and models are described as the canonical forms of semiotic organization, sharing measurement relations, but di.ering topologically in that control systems are circularly and models linearly related to their environments. Computation in control systems is introduced, motivating hierarchical decomposition, hybrid modeling and control systems, and anticipatory or model-based control. The semiotic relations in complex control systems are described in terms of relational constraints, and rules and laws are distinguished as contingent and necessary functional entailments respectively. Finally, selection as a meta-level of constraint is introduced as the necessary condition for semantic relations in control systems and models.

Keywords: Models, control, semiotics, semantic closure, systems theory, cybernetics.