Systems and Control

System studies, through modeling and simulation, can be used to examine how various subsystems of a CELSS, some biological and some physico-chemical, interact in an environment closed to mass exchange. Since complex systems such as this often show unanticipated behaviors, modeling can serve three major functions: 1) It can be used as a tool for running simulation studies and testing hypotheses. These hypotheses will center around issues of long-term sustainability in the face of consistent fluctuations and occasional perturbations due to sub-system failure. 2) It can be used to develop the specifications for control requirements of a CELSS. 3) It can be used as a language of discourse for information exchange among the disparate fields needed to create a long term life support system.

Although these specific system studies will contribute to the understanding of closed ecosystems, the methodology used will be applicable to the understanding of biological control systems in nature and how these systems react to various management and control interventions. Ecological conservation issues and ecological risk assessment are two academic areas in need of this type of analytical methodology. On the commercial side, both controlled environment agriculture and animal farms such fisheries would benefit from the development of supervisory control strategies for biological systems.

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