Systems and Order

Aaron Klapheck


                The more complex the system the greater the amount of disorder inherent in that system. This is due to the constituent parts of the system being chaotic in nature themselves (atoms). Up to now it is believed that chaotic events have inherent order in them. These chaotic, or random, events are monitored and measured and are then showed to have ordered underpinnings. However, from disorder, order does not occur. Making corrective actions for random outside events does not occur by nature. In fact this is the most difficult aspect of all engineering fields. This is why when all devices are created they are given a set of conditions under which they will perform.

                While thinking about the controls for HVAC systems I was considering self-calibrating sensors that could significantly reduce the uncertainty in any sensors accuracy. However, when studying abstract systems one of the tenants is that the greater the complexity of the system the greater the disorder in that system. This is due to the fact that all systems are made of matter and matter at its most basic form is chaotic in nature. Therefore the more complex the system (i.e. the larger the system) the more disorder will be present in that system. All controls for an HVAC system must be designed to prevent failure from occurring; this is fundamentally true for all systems. However, there is only a set amount of conditions that can be anticipated and corrected for. In other words you could not create an object in a system that could anticipate and correct for all chaotic inputs that could disrupt the system. This is because the system that could do this would be extremely complex and with the increase complexity the greater the disorder. Because of this only a finite set of chaotic events (that disrupt the system) can and should be anticipated by the designers. Once these disruptive events occur then the system should be designed to take corrective action in these events. This is why when getting a cold all humans have a set of pre-determined responses: cough, sore throat, fever, runny nose, etc. All human beings were designed to have these responses for this anticipated event. If the immune system could properly identify the intruder that is causing the cold and eliminate it, it would. That is to say, if there is order in chaos and through chaotic events order can arise then the immune system should be able to become better or worse “naturally” at identifying common ailments. Instead the immune system acts in a very orderly manner, every time, which it was designed to, instead of in a chaotic one, despite its inherent disorder. The disorder, or chaotic events, did not cause the immune system to function. The immune system continues to function in spite of this inherent disorder. The human body had to be designed to fight harmful intruders. The immune system would never exist in isolation.

                Correcting for chaotic events requires a sensory input and more importantly an understanding of what to do with this data. This understanding would have to be at the component level (detecting the chaotic input and how it affects the component) and the system level (how this chaotic input could unbalance the system as a whole). Because of this an element that is capable of regulating itself will not be able to benefit the system as a whole unless designed to do so by someone who also understands the system as a whole. Because of this all complex systems (such as life) will never be created through chaotic events. Although chaotic systems are viewed to have order in them, this view is actually the reverse of reality. The reason this is not apparent is because everything we observe (everything on earth, various solar systems, and various galaxies) are not in their “natural” state. An intelligent being created these complex systems so there is no order in chaos but instead chaos in order. More to the point, there is enough order to counteract the destructive presence of chaos. In short we cannot view any items in their “natural” state because we cannot separate their designed order from the randomness inherent in all matter.

                Life is in complete and total opposition to the fundamental axioms of system theory. The more complex the system the more disorder present in that system. Yet, life (one of the most complex systems ever studied) is also the most observably ordered systems in the universe. There are over 200 billion chemical reactions taking place inside the human body every second. Any one of these chemical reactions, if in error, could cause the body to no longer function. Because of this complexity, the human body should be one of the most disordered systems to exist yet the opposite is true. This is because life was designed to specifically counteract this natural disorder inherently high in all life.

                When parts of the body do go wrong, it is because of the inherent disorder in the system was not properly corrected for. For example, cancer occurs when a cell reproduces uncontrollably. Control of the cell multiplication is lost and chaotic cell replication occurs. Controlled in this instance meaning that the cell replication could be accounted for in its healthy state, it is predictable and stable. Another way parts of the body fail is through the introduction of a cotangent that the body does not have an immunity against.

                Another problem with complex systems that are able to perform corrective actions (required for complex systems) is that the more checks and balances in place the more inefficient the system. For example the human body is approximately 20% efficient at turning food into usable kinetic work and we all know how efficiently the federal government is run.

                Due to the above findings building HVAC systems should be designed as simple as possible with the most common types of problems anticipated and corrected. This correction will occur automatically (in DDC applications) or through letting a user know about a needed correction. Any self-correction component may be able to correct an individual part, but to find the cause for the problem requires an intelligent operator and is the hardest part of any control system! An HVAC system cannot be created to correct all chaotic events not only because of the great inefficiencies of this system but because one of the most complex systems in the universe (the human immune systems) cannot make corrections for every individual intruder randomly entering the human body. Instead it has a set of pre-programmed responses for all types of cold viruses and all types of flues. This is equivalent to having an HVAC system let an operator know there is a problem somewhere in a specific sector, but not knowing any more than that. Although advanced controls could be put in place to automatically handle virtually any situation, chances are it would not do what we would want it to do. This is why we take fever reducers, nasal decongestants, and cough syrup when we are sick; we do not like our body’s automatic virus killing response.

                In conclusion there is no ideal HVAC system that can work in all reasonable environments. Each HVAC system must be designed for the environment it is placed in. Not only to anticipate the types of problems encountered but to eliminate unnecessary functions that increase the systems efficiency. In short standardizing building design across most environments is a bad decision to make.