Cybernetics ...
  "the science and art of understanding"... - Humberto Maturana
  "interfaces hard competence with the hard problems of the soft sciences" - Heinz von Foerster
Explore and Enjoy!

Centers Webspaces Organizations Journals Educational Forums


ABOUT THESE LINKS   This page offers a set of brief introductions and links to Web resources about or email access to current ASC members and ASC affiliates active in the fields of cybernetics, systems theory, and related disciplines.

NOTE: Where applicable, the hot-linked name citation (left column) leads to the given individual's website (or a website specifically relevant to him / her).

As the entries below illustrate, the ASC community spans the range of interests, disciplines, and applications long associated with the field of cybernetics itself.

If you are an ASC member, and you would like an introductory description and link(s) for you included here, please contact the ASC Webmaster.

OTHER LINKS TO INFO ABOUT CYBERNETICIANS   In the Foundations section of this ASC Website we offer a reference page on some notable cyberneticians (whether or not they're current ASC members).

Some have been key figures in the rise of cybernetics from the 1940's onward. Others have been instrumental in the emergence of second order cybernetics from the 1960's onward. Still others are interrelated with cybernetics by virtue of (e.g.) their holistic perspective, their theoretical foci, and/or the relevance of their work to themes within cybernetics.


Mary Catherine

"...a writer and cultural anthropologist who divides her time between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, where she is currently Visiting Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has written and co-authored numerous books and articles, lectures across the country and around the world, and is president of the Institute for Intercultural Studies in New York City. For the last decade she has been Clarence J. Robinson Professor in Anthropology and English at George Mason University."



Dr. Bunnell is a systems ecologist and knowledge architect with over twenty years experience in environmental education and consulting. Pille is engaged in the development and application of the biology of cognition particularly as it concerns systemic sustainability.


Thomas Fischer is the Director of the Design Research Institute at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou, China, where he works as an Associate Professor, teaching Architecture as well as Industrial Design. Thomas is a Fellow of the Design Research Society and received the American Society for Cybernetics’ Warren McCulloch Award in 2011. Thomas holds a PhD in Education from the University of Kassel in Germany and one in Architecture and Design from RMIT University in Australia. Thomas previously researched and taught at the School of Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University as an Assistant Professor and as the Discipline Leader of Product and Industrial Design. He was a Visiting Associate Professor at the College of Planning and Design at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan from early 2010 to mid-2011. Thomas’ research is focused on computer-aided architectural design, on cybernetics as well as on design education in China and in Sino-foreign contexts. His expertise and contributions in these areas are concerned with the relationships between Chinese and Western philosophical traditions as well as with the relationships between formal and informal approaches to design.


Ranulph Glanville has a particular interest in circular systems and the consequences of taking them seriously. As a result, he has developed a particular enjoyment of the Black Box as a model that requires the participation of the observer in building descriptions of the behaviour of systems, leading to an understanding of knowing as based on profound ignorance. He has developed a Theory of Objects‹those things about which we can (as a result of their self-referential qualities) behave as if we see the same thing when each observer observes differently, from which he developed a temporal logic. His work is largely philosophical in intent, but has a deep connection with design and research.

"Virtually all the work I have done since my Ph D has been based in the notion that each of us constructs our own world. This came about from the observation I have made second by second since my birth, that observation is done by observers, and knowing is done by knowers. To disguise this is absurd. My interest in cybernetics is because it is the area of study that welcomes the observer (and allows him to make errors). My interest in design is because it is, par excellence, an area of constructing."
An article on Ranulph Glanville can be accessed at:

Additional Links:

Ranulph Glanville died on December 20th 2014.

Here is an obituary on the website of the Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence, written by Michael Lissack.




Ernst Von

"Philosopher & Cybernetician he spent large parts of his life in Ireland [1940s], in Italy [1950s] and the USA [current]. Elaborating upon Vico, Piaget's genetic epistemology, Bishop Berkeley's theory of perception, James Joyce's Finnegans Wake and other important texts, Ernst developed his model of Radical Constructivism - which is an ethos shared by all of these writers to one degree or another, sometimes it is difficult to see where their epistemological agreements begin and end - but that is part of the fun."



"This, existential certainty, whatever the vocabulary or syntax,is the incontrovertable starting point for each of us. I believe our time is short but the data available ... is sufficient to make explicit moves toward 'that' organization for coordinating a viable Global consensus at two levels:

  1. What it Means to be Human.
  2. Planetary Policy for optimal Human living conditions.

Some of my reference points are: Gregory Bateson, Humberto Maturana, Heinz von Foerster, Ernst von Glasersfeld, Ross Ashby and Klaus Krippendorff."


Jixuan Hu

ASC Lifetime Member Jason Jixuan Hu, Ph.D. in Management and Organization with a focus on Cybernetics and Systems Theory from The George Washington University, currently Managing Director of WINTOP Consulting Group ( ), works on the applications of cybernetics and systems principles in Organizational Development, Consensus Building and Team Synergy, Cross-Cultural Communication and Problem Solving, Group Dynamics and Chinese Organizational Behavior. Dr. Hu started learning cybernetics in the late 1970s inside China while in college, practiced System Dynamics Modeling for real economic systems in the early 1980s, and studied with Stuart Umpleby, Heinz von Foerster, Gordon Pask, Humberto Maturana, Stafford Beer, John Warfield and Russ Ackoff among many other cyberneticians and systems thinkers after coming to the U.S. as a visiting scholar in 1986 and later as a doctoral student. Beginning in 1992 he initiated the cybernetics communication listserv CYBCOM on the Internet. He has taught cybernetics courses in several universities and applied various cybernetic principles and methods in his consulting and training work, focusing on the area of Roundtable Leadership Development and Communicatics. Dr. Hu is a founding member of the Stockholm Committee of ASC members working on a collaborative project to develop a comprehensive high-school-college curriculum for promoting cybernetics. His academic vitae are at


"I am a topologist working in knot theory and its relationships with statistical mechanics, quantum theory, algebra, combinatorics and foundations."


Klaus Krippendorff is the Gregory Bateson Term Professor for Cybernetics, Language, and Culture at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for communication. He holds a graduate degree in design and a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Illinois, where he studied with W. Ross Ashby and came in contact with the work of Claude E. Shannon, Heinz von Foerster, Stafford Beer, Francisco Varela, Humberto Maturana, Ernst von Glasersfeld, and Gregory Bateson. He has published widely on cybernetics, information theory, communication theory, methodology for the social sciences, content analysis, reliability statistics, and a human-centered science for design, design semantics in particular. His Dictionary of Cybernetics has become part of the Principia Cybernetica Web. He is a fellow of AAAS, ICA, NIAS, the East-West Center (Hawaii), and the Society for Science of Design (Japan); and recipient of the Norbert Wiener Medal for Cybernetics, the Wiener-Schmidt Prize for his contributions to cybernetics and education, and the 2004 ICA Fellows Book award. Besides teaching subjects on language and the social construction of reality, he conducts second-order cybernetic inquiries into a variety of social phenomena and addresses issues of emancipatory epistemology and the ethics of constructing human communication.

A dictionary of cybernetics written by Klaus Krippendorff can be found here.

A linked directory of some of Klaus Krippendorff's key publications compiled by the ASC as a tribute to mark the year of Klaus Krippendorff's 80th birthday can be found here..


Allenna Leonard, Ph.D., works in Toronto Canada and internationally, specializing in the application of Stafford Beer's Viable System Model and Syntegration.



Philip Lewin is an independent scholar living in Eugene, Oregon. His primary interest is in epistemology, that is, in the general question of how we make sense of and function within the world while maintaining a self-legitimating sanity. His involvement with ASC grew out of his graduate work in the late 1970s. Among his primary influences at that time were studies on Jean Piaget with Ernst von Glasersfeld, summer courses with Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela on biological epistemology, and the revelation that was his first reading of Gregory Bateson's Steps to an Ecology of Mind. These influences continue.


Humberto Maturana is a biologist who specialized in neurobiology at Harvard. In the early 1960s his work on vision at MIT led to the celebrated paper with J. Lettvin, "What the Frog's Eye Tells the Frog's Brain." His distinctive approach to cognitive inquiry first appeared in his 1970 book Biology of Cognition, after his return to the University of Chile at Santiago, Chile. He subsequently entered into a long collaboration with Francisco Varela, another neuroscientist at the University of Chile at Santiago. In 1980 the two authors published Autopoiesis and Cognition, the key reference work on autopoiesis. Their popular introduction to cognitive biology, The Tree of Knowledge, was published in 1987. He is currently at the University of Chile at Santiago.


Information seeking as a social process. Mutual orientation in information space. Creation of information alliances. Information means participation.


B.C.E. (Bernard)

B.C.E. (Bernard) Scott is currently Senior Lecturer in Electronically-Enhanced Learning, Cranfield University, Royal Military College of Science, as well as Director of the On-Line Learning Knowledge Garden website project.

"My research interests include (i) theories of learning and teaching (ii) individual differences important for learning and teaching and learning to learn (iii) principles of course design, including knowledge and task analysis, tutorial strategies and use of media (iv) the design of advisory and adaptive tutoring systems for learning environments (v) whole systems aspects of organisations and 'culture change' (vi) institution wide issues concerning the deployment of ICT and learning technologies."



Elizabeth has done interpersonal and intra-group dynamic work since 1995 and is certified in Victim-Offender Reconciliation, Circle Mediation, and Family Group Processing. She is trained in a variety of decision-making modes, including Formal Consensus, Dynamic Governance (sociocracy) and Restorative Justice Principles. She has assisted groups with retreats, visioning, Board trainings, and uses a variety of creative strategies to draw on the resources of groups to find answers to the issues at hand. Elizabeth is an anti-racism activist who has worked with groups to address how privilege in organizations affects members' ability to work together. She has also worked with groups around the dynamics of class and gender. In addition to her work with do good, Elizabeth also serves as Peer Mediation Coordinator at Urbana (Illinois) Middle School and is facilitating an Inter-group Dialogue on Race & Ethnicity at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.



Alan Stewart, PhD, is a professional conversationalist and founder/director of a group called MultiMind Solutions. They facilitate communication processes for corporate, government and community organizations which ensure that people contribute creatively, collectively and wholeheartedly to the solution of complex issues. For over a decade he was a co-convenor of the Cybernetics Group in Adelaide. He has been a Senior Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University in California and has a current appointment as Adjunct Professor at Union Institute in Ohio. Alan is an experienced facilitator of approaches which promote lively and productive conversing such as 'Open Space Technology' and 'Conversing Café'.



Stuart Umpleby is a professor in the Department of Management Science and Director of the Research Program in Social and Organizational Learning in the School of Business and Public Management at The George Washington University. He teaches courses in the philosophy of science, cross-cultural management, and systems thinking. Other interests include total quality management, interactive planning methods, and the use of computer networks.

A linked directory of some of Stuart Umpleby's key publications compiled by the ASC as a tribute to mark the year of Stuart Umpleby's 70th birthday can be found here.



Robert Vallée, Professor emeritus of Université Paris-Nord, is currently President of the World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics (WOSC). He founded, the Cercle d'Etudes Cybernétiques (1950). Recipient of the Norbert Wiener Memorial Gold Medal, author of 150 papers and several books, his researches concerns cybernetics, systems, information theory, the influence of cybernetics on the future of mankind (1952) and history of cybernetics and systems. Interested by the problem of perception, he proposed the concepts of observation operators (1951) and inverse transfers of structure (1974) which both lead to a cybernetical epistemology and, completed by pragmatic operators, to an epistemo-praxiology (1987), a constructivist synthesis of perception, decision and action. He worked also on perception and memorization of duration and introduced the idea of internal time of a dynamical system (1996).



John Warfield developed the process called "Interpretive Structural Modeling" or ISM. This process was founded in mathematics that was largely developed by DeMorgan in England and Peirce in the United States in the 19th century, and summarized very nicely by Frank Harary and his colleagues at the University of Michigan, who made the connections to graph theory.

John's research on complexity and systems began in the 1960s and has continued into the 2000s. Much of his work and those of colleagues is available in the Fenwick Library at George Mason University (GMU), Fairfax, Virginia.

The John N. Warfield Digital Collection (George Mason University)


By day, Randy's duties include analyzing information warfare issues, cognitive task analyses, collaborative technologies research, and work-centered interface design. His personal scholarship has focused upon cognition, epistemology, semiotics, and their relationships to human interactivity. His primary theoretical bases include the work of Heinz von Foerster, Ernst von Glasersfeld, George Spencer Brown, Charles Sanders Peirce, and especially Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela. He is the creator and steward of The Observer Web -- the largest Internet nexus on autopoiesis and enaction.


  For feedback, suggestions or contributions, please email the ASC Webmaster.   ASC HOME TOP of Page
Centers Webspaces Organizations Journals Educational Forums
Explore and Enjoy!