Adam Maria Gadomski
System Engineering versus Technology Engineering
 TOGA (Top-down Object-based Goal-oriented Approach) Ontology

1. Technology Engineering
A contribution to the discussion on the subject matter.

Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1999 03:55:25 +0100
From: "A.M.Gadomski" <>
Subject: Cognitive Technology Domain

Dear Kevin,
In my opinion, the cognitive technology will be one of the most important
tools of the post-modern system engineering in the 21st century.
I appreciate very much your initiative.
I am especially interested in meta-system engineering, intelligent cognitive
agents and ... their formal and applicative contexts.
- I suggest you to add, on the CTS pages, a list of some basic CT definitions.
Of course they need a consensus, therefore I also suggest to start a
discussion about them.



- Technology is the technical means people use to improve their surroundings.
It is also knowledge of using tools and machines to do tasks efficiently.

We use technology to control the world in which we live. Technology is people using
knowledge, tools, and systems to make their lives easier and better.

SOME MY PROPOSALS (updated, 2000):
The second face of Cognitive Technology (CT)
(based on the TOGA meta-theory)

Definitions and terminology are fundaments of our communication platform, therefore they should be
discussed and some standards should be suggested by the CT society!

We can argue that the progress in cognitive technology, as in every interdisciplinary RTD field,
is proportional to the increment of the precision of  concepts/terms used.
Technology  is a validated set of mental and real tools, materials and components developed by humans and
directly employed  to an engineering task  in the real world.

-  It also includes manuals, methods and procedures, therefore,

using the AI language; technology is a set of natural and artificial systems and knowledge about them,
being used in every engineering activity.

Technologies are usually divided according to the different physical domains of interest of their users, materials.
and industrial  treatments and events
For example: materials technology, biotechnology, wood elaboration technology, different production
technologies, learning technologies, agent technologies....

Meta-technology concept represents a common systemic knowledge valid and applicable for every technology.
- Meta-technology is a necessary tool for the engineering development of any particular technology.
Modern system engineering uses meta-system & meta-technology analysis for  identification and
development of different modeling frames of complex heterogeneous system aggregates.
Knowledge is an abstract property which realize, through its carrier system,  a transformation of 
information into information.
Remark: Knowledge is an abstract property of every goal-oriented system.
Information is everything what represents an identifiable domain of interest (of activity) and can be transformed
by knowledge.
Remark: Information and Knowledge definitions are reciprocally dependent relative coupled definitions 
Data is everything what is/can be processed.


For example, from this point of view we have the following relations:

- information are data for knowledge.
- knowledge are data for meta-knowledge.
- every information are data but not every data are information.
On the other hand, we have scientific and observation-based theories, they are not goal-oriented, and, of course, they are not technologies.
But ... if we recognize a certain scientific theory as a useful  conceptualization tool for a certain class of engineering problems then it becomes a part of technology.


Cognitive technologies are conceptual and software tools and components for the construction of human (users) models, especially necessary for the design of various intelligent computer systems and human-computer conceptual interfaces/interactions.

Cognitive technologies are developed and investigated in the context of the cognitive science.

They include different reasoning methods and agent architectures  based on the identification of human brain and human mental (abstract) functions.
In the last case, they are an abstraction of human-mental thinking processes.

For example, the development of specific numerical problem-solving methods are not cognitivistic tasks but an elaboration of their qualitative "logical" human-like management methods is the task for CT.

I argue that the goal-oriented management of uncertainty and incompleteness of information and knowledge are most characteristic tasks of CT.

At the end, the central/reference point of CT is an abstract, domain-independent, action-oriented decision-making (DIAD) process. -  Its efficacy depends on intelligence of the decision-maker, and ... this is the problem.

Therefore, I see an  abstract intelligent agent  as an acceptable CT model, as well as a subject and object in the CT research [  NEXT ] .

A more detailed vision of the symbolic knowledge-based branch of CT in  the context of the human reliability, meta-system engineering, IDSSs (Intelligent Decision-Support Systems) and 'mindware' will be available soon on my home pages.

Kind regards

Adam Maria Gadomski

 In the above context,  TECHNOLOGY ENGINEERING is an activity being based on the application of  engineering paradigms and  focused on the development and improvement of different technologies.
If we intend to recognize and distinguish  Technology Engineering as an entity applicable to the numerous complex technological research then it ought to be defined as a domain independent goal-oriented  knowledge relating to some classes of technological systems - It is also a meta-technology  and  meta-knowledge in the reference to technological products.

The meta-technologies are employed hardly in every technological research and engineering but they are embedded and dispersed in particular terminologies. They are not explicitly visible and are frequently developed in isolation.

Meta-technologies are the way  to copy with such meta-engineering problems as reusing, reengineering, systems safety, an abstract domain-independent action-oriented decision-making (DIAD) process, and, in general, ... knowledge engineering.

2. System Engineering  - top definitions
    always.... in updating

X Engineering: is a goal-oriented activity in order to design, improve, construct and develop of  X class systems using available materials, physical components (functional subsystems)  and knowledge (ontology's, models, methods, procedures and rules).

or more formally,

X Engineering ( Domain Engineering)

It is a goal oriented activity of intelligent beings in a society S,  relying on the designing, improving, construction and developing of  X-class systems, using available physical objects (materials, tools), information and technologies (knowledge) according to the laws, rules (preferences) obligatory or normative in the S society, and the specific requirements of the future user of the developed system.

Remarks:  X engineering requires from X engineers a capability to  the description of a developed system in terms of the  X domain theory and adequate methods which he/she uses.

Major key engineering activities are: understand objectives, choice means, configuration/integration of the system, its validation and control..

In the above context, X-engineering objective is to construct requested system according to the available means (i.e. technologies, in particular).

System Engineering is a X engineering where X represents a wide class of systems, their aggregates and meta-systems.

A  main conceptual tool in system engineering should be the General Systems Theory, but one congruent GST does not exist yet.

Now we can argue that Technology Engineering is a sub domain of System Engineering specified according to the definition of technology.

Meta-system Engineering and Meta-engineering ... (?)

... In general, meta-approaches are conceptualization/ontological and methodological tools for every top-down identification and design activities.
The definitions of the above concepts result from the definitions of the concept components. 

In practice, the application fields of the above specified terminology are:  systemics, meta-philosophy, socio-cognitive engineering and ... computer science.

For more information: Meta-System Engineering Paradigms

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