Jay Wright Forrester


Jay Wright Forrester

Infobox Scientist
name = Jay Forrester


image_size =
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birth_date = Birth date and age|1918|7|14|df=y
birth_place = Climax, Nebraska
death_date =
death_place =
occupation =
spouse =
awards = IEEE Medal of Honor

Jay Wright Forrester (born 14 July 1918, Climax, Nebraska) is a pioneer American computer engineer, systems scientist and was professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Forrester is known as the founder of System Dynamics, which deals with the simulation of interactions between objects in dynamic systems.

Biography

Forrester was born in 1918 on a cattle ranch near Anselmo, Nebraska, in the middle of the United States. His early interest in electricity was spurred, perhaps, by the fact that the ranch had none. While in high school, he built a wind-driven, 12-volt electrical system using old car parts -- it gave the ranch its first electric power. [http://www.thocp.net/biographies/forrester_jay.html Biography Jay Forrester] . 2005,] After finishing high school, he had received a scholarship to go to the Agricultural College. Three weeks before enrolling, he realized a future of herding cattle in Nebraska winter blizzards had never appealed to him. So instead in 1936 he enrolled in the Engineering College at the University of Nebraska to study Electrical engineering. As it turns out this study was about the only academic field with a solid, central core of theoretical dynamics. J.W. Forrester, [http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/sdep/papers/D-4165-1.pdf "The Beginning of System Dynamics"] : paper for the Banquet Talk at the international meeting of the System Dynamics Society, Stuttgart, Germany, July 13, l989.] .

After finishing the University in 1939 he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to become a research assistant and eventually spent his entire career. In his first year at MIT he was commandeered by Gordon S. Brown who was the pioneer in "feedback control systems" at MIT. During World War II his work with Gordon Brown was in developing servomechanisms for the control of radar antennas and gun mounts. This work was research toward an extremely practical end that ran from mathematical theory to the operating field. Experimental units were installed on the USS Lexington, and, when they stopped working, he volunteered to go to Pearl Harbor in 1942. He fixed the problem when the ship sailed off-shore during the invasion of Tarawa.

At the end of the war at MIT Forrester in 1944 started a project building of an aircraft flight simulator. The aircraft simulator was planned as an analog computer, but became the Whirlwind digital computer for experimental development of military combat information systems. This eventually became the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) air defense system for North America. Around 1949, the Navy was losing interest in Whirlwind and considered scrapping it. But that August, the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb. Relations between the U.S. and its former ally had so deteriorated that this event inspired worry and alarm throughout the government. People in the military realized that computers would be essential in the defense of the country now that the USSR had the capacity to attack from afar. Whirlwind, as the Navy's most advanced computer, suddenly looked good again. Forrester continued his research in electrical and computer engineering until 1956. By then he felt the pioneering days in digital computers were over and he left engineering to go into management.

In 1956, Forrester moved to the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he is currently Germeshausen Professor Emeritus and Senior Lecturer. But applying his engineering view of electrical systems to the field of human systems would break new ground. Forrester focused on concrete experimental studies of organizational policy. He used computer simulations to analyze social systems and predict the implications of different models. This method came to be called "system dynamics," and Forrester came to be recognized as its creator.

In 1982, he received the IEEE Computer Pioneer Award. [cite web|url=http://www.computer.org/portal/site/ieeecs/menuitem.c5efb9b8ade9096b8a9ca0108bcd45f3/index.jsp?&pName=ieeecs_level1&path=ieeecs/about/awards&file=CPAcharter_recipients.xml&xsl=generic.xsl
title=Computer Pioneer Award|accessdate=2006-05-03
] In 1989, he received the National Medal of Technology [ [http://www.technology.gov/medal/p_Recipients.htm#1989 Technology.gov] ] . In 2006, he was inducted into the Operational Research Hall of Fame.

Work

Forrester is the founder of System Dynamics, which deals with the simulation of interactions between objects in dynamic systems. He has made numerous contributions to the further development and application of System Dynamics, and has promoted System Dynamics in education down to the present day.

The Whirlwind project

The Whirlwind computer was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is the first computer that operated in real time, used video displays for output, and the first that was not simply an electronic replacement of older mechanical systems. Its development led directly to the United States Air Force's Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, and indirectly to almost all business computers and minicomputers in the 1960s.

During the 1940s and early 1950s, Forrester did research in electrical and computer engineering, heading the Whirlwind project and developing the "Multi-coordinate digitally information storage device" (coincident-current system), the forerunner of today's RAM. He is believed to have created the first animation in the history of computer graphics, a "jumping ball" on an oscilloscope.

Industrial dynamics

Industrial dynamics nowadays is the study of: innovation, as an economic phenomenon that transforms industries in an endogenous manner. It is at the core of industrial dynamics approaches and at the same time is one of the key challenges for a growing part of the scientific community.
* The economic analysis capture and measure regularities of the complex processes of industry evolution.
* The modelling of industrial dynamics, supported by empirical evidence, allows for the existence of heterogeneity in the characteristics of firms within an industry in terms of size, entry/exit, performance, innovation strategies, etc.
* The industrial dynamics approaches are uncovering new evidence about how firms compete and how competition should operate. That is in sharp contrast with the results of more basic industrial organization studies. Jackie Krafft, [http://www.ofce.sciences-po.fr/pdf/revue/hs-06-06/rhs-06-06-intro2.pdf "Introduction: What do we know about Industrial Dynamics?"] , in: OFCE, June 2006, pp.15-19.]

Originally, industrial dynamics encompassed the study of the different variables characterizing industries (such as entry/exit, penetration-rate, innovation rate, R&D expenses, number of patents), and their comparison from one period to another. Though these initial developments included important elements related to the quantitative functioning of industries, it is nowadays largely accepted that the early contributions often neglected the genuine determinants of the evolution of innovative industries.

"Industrial Dynamics" (1961) was the first book Forrester wrote using System Dynamics to analyze industrial business cycles.

Urban dynamics

Several years later, interactions with former Boston Mayor John F. Collins led Forrester to write "Urban Dynamics" (1969), which sparked an ongoing debate on the feasibility of modeling broader social problems.

System dynamics

System dynamics combines the theory, methods, and philosophy needed to analyze the behavior of systems in not only management, but also in environmental change, politics, economic behavior, medicine, engineering, and other fields. System dynamics provides a common foundation that can be applied wherever we want to understand and influence how things change through time. 1989, J.W Forrester, [http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/sdep/papers/D-4224-4.pdf "System Dynamics and the Lessons of 35 Years"] . ] The system dynamics process starts from a problem to be solved: a situation that needs to be better understood, or an undesirable behavior that is to be corrected or avoided. It uses concepts drawn from the field of feedback control to organize available information into computer simulation models. A digital computer as a simulator, acting out the roles of the operating people in the real system, reveals the behavioral implications of the system that has been described in the model. The first articles based on this work appeared in the Harvard Business Review (Forrester, 1958).

World dynamics

The urban dynamics model attracted the attention of urban planners around the world, eventually leading Forrester to meet a founder of the Club of Rome. He later met with the Club of Rome to discuss issues surrounding global sustainability; the book "World Dynamics" followed. "World Dynamics" took on modeling the complex interactions of the world economy, population and ecology, which understandably met with much misunderstanding (see also Donella Meadows and "Limits to Growth").

See also

* Magnetic core memory

Publications

Forrester has written several books, articles and papers. Books, a selection:
* 1961. "Industrial dynamics". Waltham, MA: Pegasus Communications.
* 1968. "Principles of Systems", 2nd ed. Pegasus Communications.
* 1969. "Urban Dynamics". Pegasus Communications.
* 1973. "World Dynamics". Pegasus Communications.
* 1975. "Collected Papers of Jay W. Forrester". Pegasus Communications.

Articles and papers, a selection:
* 1958. "Industrial Dynamics--A Major Breakthrough for Decision Makers.", in: "Harvard Business Review", Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 37-66.
* 1968, [http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/sdep/papers/marketgrowth.pdf "Market Growth as Influenced by Capital Investment"] . [ This article is from Industrial Management Review, Vol. IX, No. 2, Winter 1968. This classic system dynamics paper discusses why having enough capacity to meet demand is so important for a new company.]
* 1971, [http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/sdep/Roadmaps/RM1/D-4468-2.pdf Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems.] . [ [http://www.constitution.org/ps/cbss.htm HTML version.] ]
* 1989, [http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/sdep/papers/D-4224-4.pdf "System Dynamics and the Lessons of 35 Years"] .
* 1991, [http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/sdep/papers/D-4165-1.pdf "The Beginning of System Dynamics"] . [ This provides a personal point of view about the development of system dynamics.]
* 1992, [http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/sdep/Roadmaps/RM1/D-4337.pdf "System Dynamics and Learner-Centered-Learning in Kindergarten through 12th Grade Education] . [ This paper presents views on how system dynamics may improve classroom learning.]
* 1994, [http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/sdep/papers/D-4434-3.pdf "Learning through Systems Dynamics as preparation for the 21st Century"] . [ This paper explains the advantages of a system dynamics education for the future.]
* 1996, [http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/sdep/papers/D-4665-4.pdf "System Dynamics and K-12 Teachers"] . [ Writing on using system dynamics in kindergarten through twelfth grade education.]
* 1998, [http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/sdep/papers/Designjf.pdf "Designing the Future"] . [ English version of the paper Prof. Jay Forrester presented at the University of Seville on December 15th, 1998. This paper talks about how Dr. Forrester believes system dynamics will help in understanding the many complex systems in our society.]
* 1999, [http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/sdep/papers/D-4828.html "System Dynamics: the Foundation Under Systems Thinking"] . [ In this paper Forrester explains his view that without including system dynamics concepts and principles, systems thinking runs the risk of being superficial and prone to assuming counterproductive conclusions.]

References

External links

* [http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/people/jay-forrester.html Selected papers by Forrester.]
* [http://ssmworld.mit.edu/streams/reunion2002/forrester_20010521.html Video lecture on Systems Dynamics by Forrester]


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  • Jay Wright Forrester — (né le 14 juillet 1918, Climax, Nebraska) est un pionnier américain en informatique et un théoricien des systèmes. Né dans une ferme près d’Anselmo, Nebraska, Forrester étudie l’électrotechnique au Massachusetts Institute of Technology où il… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jay Wright Forrester — (* 14. Juli 1918 in Climax, Nebraska) ist ein Pionier der Computertechnik und der Systemdynamik. Biographie Forrester wurde als Sohn eines Lehrerehepaars geboren, das als Viehzüchter auf einer einsamen Farm lebte. Schon mit 9 Jahren führte er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jay Wright Forrester — …   Википедия

  • Jay W. Forrester — Jay Wright Forrester Jay Wright Forrester (né le 14 juillet 1918, Climax, Nebraska) est un pionnier américain en informatique et un théoricien des systèmes. Né dans une ferme près d’Anselmo, Nebraska, Forrester étudie l’électrotechnique au… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jay W. Forrester — Jay Wright Forrester (* 14. Juli 1918 in Climax (Nebraska)) ist ein Pionier der Computertechnik sowie der Systemdynamik. Biographie Forrester wurde als Sohn eines Lehrerehepaars, das als Viehzüchter auf einer einsamen Farm lebte, geboren. Schon… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Forrester, Jay Wright — born July 14, 1918, Anselmo, Neb., U.S. U.S. electrical engineer and management expert. He taught and conducted research at MIT, where in 1945 he founded the Digital Computer Laboratory. There he invented the magnetic core random access memory… …   Universalium

  • Forrester, Jay Wright — (n. 14 jul. 1918, Anselmo, Neb., EE.UU.). Ingeniero eléctrico y experto en administración estadounidense. Enseñó y condujo investigaciones en el MIT, donde en 1945 fundó el Laboratorio de computación digital. Ahí inventó la memoria de acceso… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Jay Forrester — Jay Wright Forrester Jay Wright Forrester (né le 14 juillet 1918, Climax, Nebraska) est un pionnier américain en informatique et un théoricien des systèmes. Né dans une ferme près d’Anselmo, Nebraska, Forrester étudie l’électrotechnique au… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jay Forrester — Jay Wright Forrester (* 14. Juli 1918 in Climax (Nebraska)) ist ein Pionier der Computertechnik sowie der Systemdynamik. Biographie Forrester wurde als Sohn eines Lehrerehepaars, das als Viehzüchter auf einer einsamen Farm lebte, geboren. Schon… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jay Forrester — Nacimiento 14 de julio de 1918 (93 años) Climax, Nebraska Premios destacados Medalla de honor IEEE Jay Wright Forrester (n. 1918) es considerado el padre de la Dinámica de sistemas, una disciplina reciente que representa una extensión a toda …   Wikipedia Español


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