definition of Wikipedia
July 14, 1918 |
|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.
Forrester was born in 1918 on a cattle ranch near Anselmo, Nebraska. His early interest in electricity was possibly sparked 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. 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 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.
After finishing the University in 1939 he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to become a research assistant and eventually spend 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 WWII his work with Gordon Brown was in developing servomechanisms for the control of radar antennas and gun mounts. This work was research toward a 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 began development of an advanced aircraft flight simulator. The simulator, originally conceived as an analog computer, evolved to become the Whirlwind digital computer for experimental development of military combat information systems. Around 1949, the Navy was losing interest in Whirlwind and considered scrapping it. Then, in August, the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb. Relations between the US and its former ally had so deteriorated that this event inspired alarm throughout the government, and 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.The Air Force, faced with the complexities of ground-controlled intercept, then entered the picture. Whirlwind then, in turn, evolved to become SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment), the central albeit distributed locus of NORAD's air defense command, control, communication and intercept system for North America. 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. Application of 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. In 1989, he received the National Medal of Technology. In 1995 he was made a Fellow of the Computer History Museum. 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. Jay Forrester is also known for his researches that led to the modern idea of supply chain management. During the late 1950s Forrester and his colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed many ideas and theories that later became the cornerstones of supply chain management.
Forrester has written several books, articles and papers. Books, a selection:
Articles and papers, a selection:
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