In psychology, in engineering, as well as in common parlance, function denotes the property of something which is used/applied for an objective/goal/purpose/scope.

In fact, it is possible to realize the same function using different physical processes or systems, and one process/system can be the carrier of multiple functions (Adam Maria Gadomski, 1987). For example, the main function of a clock, the presentation of time, can be realized by different physical processes, including atomic, electronic, and mechanical processes.

In many cases, this concept is also used in a metaphoric sense, for example, by attributing a goal to the natural selection processes.

If we change the use of an object, it may change dramatically functions without changing any of its own physical properties.

See alsoEdit


  • A.M. Gadomski, Citeseer - Structural Procedures of S-A (Situation Assessment) for Autonomous Reasoning Module (1993)
  • M. Lind, Multilevel Flow Modeling,in the Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Functional Modeling of Complex Technical Systems(ISBN 0-9652669-0-7), 1993.
  • R.Barker, C. Longman, Case*Method: Function and Process Modelling, Addison-Wesley Professional, 1992.

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