Metasynthesis: M-space, M-interaction, and M-computing for open complex giant systems

Longbing Cao, Ruwei Dai, Mengchu Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The studies of complex systems have been recognized as one of the greatest challenges for current and future science and technology. Open complex giant systems (OCGSs) are a family of specially complex systems with system complexities such as openness, human involvement, societal characteristic, and intelligence emergence. They greatly challenge multiple disciplines such as system sciences, system engineering, cognitive sciences, information systems, artificial intelligence, and computer sciences. As a result, traditional problem-solving methodologies can help deal with them but are far from a mature solution methodology. The theory of qualitative-to-quantitative metasynthesis has been proposed as a breakthrough and effective methodology for the understanding and problem solving of OCGSs. In this paper, we propose the concepts of M-Interaction, M-Space, and M-Computing which are three key components for studying OCGS and building problem-solving systems. M-Interaction forms the main problem-solving mechanism of qualitative-to-quantitative metasynthesis; M-Space is the OCGS problem-solving system embedded with M-Interactions, while M-Computing consists of engineering approaches to the analysis, design, and implementation of M-Space and M-Interaction. We discuss the theoretical framework, problem-solving process, social cognitive evolution, intelligence emergence, and pitfalls of certain types of cognitions in developing M-Space and M-Interaction from the perspectives of cognitive sciences and social cognitive interaction. These can help one understand complex systems and develop effective problem-solving methodologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1021
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Part A:Systems and Humans
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Complex systems
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Metasynthesis social intelligence engineering
  • Open complex giant systems (OCGSs)
  • Social cognitive interaction


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