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The World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics (WOSC)



Fifteenth International Congress of Systems and Cybernetics and change of Director-General

The successful congress was held in Nanjing, People's Republic of China, during September 15-18, 2011, jointly with the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Grey Systems and Intelligent Services, with local arrangements admirably seen to by Professor Sifeng Liu and his team. The interesting location was the campus of the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, on the site of a former Ming Palace when Nanjing was the capital of China. A report on the meeting, and in due course selected papers, will appear in Kybernetes, and one of the plenary lectures, by Dr Alfonso Reyes, is available at Organizational learning and the effective management of complexity or by following a link from the website of Raul Espejo at www.syncho.com.

At the close of the Congress, an award was made to Professor Julong Deng, the originator of Grey Systems Theory, of Honorary Fellowship of WOSC. He belongs to the Department of Automation, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China.

Also awarded were the Kybernetes prize for the Outstanding Paper of the Congress, and three for Highly Commended papers. The Outstanding Paper award was for the paper:

The three Highly Commended papers were as follows:

In the Opening Ceremony of the meeting, the then Director-General of WOSC, Alex Andrew, gave a brief welcoming address (reinforced later by a welcome from Robert Vallée, read out on his behalf). Alex Andrew confirmed his wish to step down as Director-General and expressed his satisfaction that Prof. Raul Espejo had agreed to accept the position, with the approval of other WOSC officers. Alex invited Raul to add some further comments to the welcomimg address, and he announced the plan to hold the 2014 Congress in Santiago, Chile.

A short biographical note on Raul Espejo is attached, and more can be found on his website at: www.syncho.com.

Fourteenth International Congress of Systems and Cybernetics

The successful congress was held in Wrocław, Poland, during September 9-12, 2008, with local arrangemtns admirably seen to by Professor Jerzy Józefczyk and his team. Participants can be seen in a Group Picture. Selected papers will appear in the journals Systems Science and Kybernetes. An overall theme of the Congress was "Uncertain Systems" in recognition of the great contributions of the late Professor Z. Bubnicki, commemorated in a special issue of Kybernetes (Volume 37, No. 5, 2008) – see also Prof. Bubnicky obituary.

New Feature

This website has in the past been rather static except when Congresses were imminent. It is hoped to change this by the introduction of a Current Issues page. There will be no attempt to compete with existing sources of information such as the admirable website of the UK Cybernetics Society maintained by Nick Green, and the discussion list associated with the American Cybernetics Society, with details at: CybCom, and our journal Kybernetes. There will be, however, matters of special interest to associates of WOSC, and the website will allow faster dissemination than in the journal. I (Alex Andrew) would be glad to be informed about matters to be included. To transfer to the new page, click on: Current Issues

Foundation of the Organisation

The World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics (WOSC), or Organisation Mondiale pour la Systémique et la Cybernétique (OMSC), is a federation of national associations and institutions devoted to systems or cybernetics, with English, French and Russian as official languages. It was founded in 1969 by Professor J. Rose, who was Director-General until 1987, when this role passed to Professor Robert Vallée and John Rose became Honorary Director of the organisation.

Dr Norbert Wiener is the President in Memoriam. Professor Stafford Beer was the President until his death in August 2002. Accounts of observances of his demise, as well as those of Professor Heinz von Foerster shortly afterwards, are given at Stafford Beer / Heinz von Foerster.

Professor John Rose, founder of WOSC and of the journal Kybernetes, died on Friday 3rd August 2007. A short obituary is attached. The issue of Kybernetes vol. 38, no 1/2, 2009 contains tributes to him, as does also the earlier issue vol. 20, no. 6, 1991, marking the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the journal.

WOSC Secretariat

More details about the work of WOSC can be obtained from:

WOSC Secretariat, Prof. Raul Espejo, Director-General,

Flat 3, North Place, 30 Nettleham Road, Lincoln, LN2 1RE, UK

Telephone: +44 1522 589 252 or +44 7989 644 274

or from Professor R. Vallée, President,

2 rue de Vouillé, 75015 Paris, FRANCE

Telephone and FAX: +33 1

Website of R. Vallée

Board of Directors

In the spring of 2004, WOSC was restructured, and Dr Alex Andrew (UK) became Director-General, with Professor Robert Vallée (France) as President. At the Fifteenth Congress, in Nanjing in 2011, as noted above, Alex Andrew stood dfown as Director-General and has been replaced in that capacity by Professor Raul Espejo

The Director-General is asssisted by a Board of Directors in promoting systems theory and cybernetics in the 37 countries that are involved. A list of Directors is given on the People page.

Communication between Countries

There are 34 societies or institutions affiliated, belonging to 22 nations, but there are 37 nations involved (among other things because they have members on the Liaison Committee). Communication is achieved among them mainly through the exchange of information at meetings, congresses and through official publications. Kybernetes is the official journal of WOSC. It was begun in 1972 and since 1988 has been published by MCB University Press, later renamed "Emerald". Congresses have been held every three years since the first in London in 1969. Subsequent events have been in Oxford (1972), Bucharest (1975), Amsterdam (1978), Mexico City (1981), Paris (1984), London (1987), New York (1990), New Delhi (1993), again Bucharest (1996). again London (1999), Pittsburgh (2002), Maribor, Slovenia (2005), Wrocław, Poland (2008) and Nanjing, China (2011).. For further details see Journal and Congresses pages.

Norbert Wiener Institute

When the World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics (then called World Organisation of General Systems and Cybernetics) was founded by Professor John Rose in 1969 it was intended that an Institute of Cybernetics would also be established.

In honour of Dr Norbert Wiener and to mark the centenary of his birth the Institute has been renamed the Norbert Wiener Institute. Approval for the change was unanimously agreed by the WOSC Assembly at its meeting in New Delhi in 1993. The Director of the Institute is Professor B.H. Rudall.

The Institute will supplement the work of the Secretariat by allowing the interaction of individuals ands national organisations to be continuous, and not based solely on triennial congress meetings. It was at first thought that individuals could only cooperate in their activities if they worked together in one central building. Subsequent developments have allowed this view to be revised and the Institute will consist of a number of sub-centres situated throughout the world and linked by modern communications technology.



Norbert Wiener 1894-1964


Honorary Fellowships

WOSC has established a limited number of Honorary Fellowships for eminent scientists in the fields of cybernetics, systems, computers and related disciplines. For a list, see the "People" page.


The formal birth of the subject of Cybernetics was the publication in 1948 of the book Cybernetics by Norbert Wiener, with the subtitle: "Communication and Control in the Animal and the Machine" (published by Wiley, New York). The ideas arose from collaboration of Wiener with Warren McCulloch and others including Walter Pitts. After the death of Warren McCulloch in 1969, his wife compiled a set of "Collected Works" which unfortunately has not been widely distributed because of the financial failure of the publisher. A Contents list can be seen here.



Warren McCulloch 1898-1969


The picture of Warren McCulloch is from the cover of the book: Brain Processes, Theories and Models: An International Conference in Honor of W.S. McCulloch 25 years after His Death, edited by R. Moreno-Diaz and J. Mira-Mira, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1996

Another major contributor to the field, and a friend of Warren McCulloch, was Donald MacKay and a list of references to his early work is attached.

Formal Documents

Formal documents prepared by Prof. Rose at the time of inauguration of WOSC are: Charter and By Laws

Internal links to other pages:

Related Sites
Robotics Sites
Stafford Beer / Heinz von Foerster
Alex Andrew Home Page

Prof. Bubnicky obit