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Jay Forrester

 

Jay Forrester

Jay Forrester
File:Jay Forrester.jpg
Born (1918-07-14) July 14, 1918 (age 96)
Anselmo, Nebraska
Notable awards IEEE Medal of Honor
Howard N. Potts Medal

Jay Wright Forrester (born July 14, 1918) is a pioneer American computer engineer, systems scientist and was a 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 on a farm near Anselmo, Nebraska, were "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."[1]

Forrester was educated at MIT in electrical engineering, where he spent his entire career. During the 1940s and early 50s, he 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.

In 1956, Forrester moved to the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he is currently Germeshausen Professor Emeritus and Senior Lecturer. In 1982, he received the IEEE Computer Pioneer Award.[2] In 2006, he was inducted into the Operational Research Hall of Fame.

Forrester is the founder of System Dynamics, which deals with the simulation of interactions between objects in dynamic systems. Industrial Dynamics was the first book Forrester wrote using System Dynamics to analyze industrial business cycles. Several years later, interactions with former Boston Mayor John F. Collins led Forrester to write Urban Dynamics, which sparked an ongoing debate on the feasibility of modeling broader social problems.

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). Forrester has made numerous other contributions to System Dynamics, and has promoted System Dynamics in education down to the present day.

See also

Systems science portal

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.
  • 1971. World Dynamics. Wright-Allen Press.[3]
  • 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, Market Growth as Influenced by Capital Investment.[4]
  • 1971,
  • 1989, .
  • 1991,
  • 1992,
  • 1994,
  • 1996,
  • 1998,
  • 1999,

References

External links

  • Selected papers by Forrester.
  • Video lecture on Systems Dynamics by Forrester
  • Mathematics Genealogy Project

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