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


ABOUT ASC EVENTS Historically, the field of cybernetics has relied on conferences and similar events as the context for bringing together people from diverse disciplines who have similar interests. Cybernetics itself coalesced as a discipline during the 1940s in a series of meetings called the Macy Conferences.

Continuing this tradition, the American Society for Cybernetics has long emphasized the role of regular gatherings in fostering understanding and the exchange of ideas.

ASC sponsors conferences and other occasional events to provide the multidisciplinary field of cybernetics a focal venue for such interactions.

This Webpage provides a summary overview of ASC's most recent conferences as well as a listing of major cybernetics events dating back to the original Macy conferences in the 1940s.


2015 ASC Day at the ISSS Conference in Berlin
Washington D.C.

The ASC will host a one-day session at the 2015 ISSS Conference which will be held in Berlin, Germany, August 05 2015.

The session theme is Second Order Science.

You can review ASC session information on its webpage at:



ASC 2014 Living in Cybernetics
Washington D.C.
The 2014 ASC Conference was held at George Washington University, August 03-09 2014.

The conference title is Living in Cybernetics.

You can review 2014 conference information on the 2014 conference webpages at:

ASC 2013 Acting-Learning-Understanding
Bolton, UK
The 2013 ASC Conference was held at the Institute for Educational Cybernetics, University of Bolton, UK, July 28 - August 03 2013.

The conference title was Acting - Learning - Understanding (reflecting, collaborating, conversing, doing).

You can review 2013 conference information on the 2013 conference webpages at:

ASC/BIG 2012 An Ecology of Ideas
Asilomar, CA
The 2012 ASC Conference was held jointly with the Bateson Idea Group in Asilomar, CA, July 9-13 2012.

The conference title was An Ecology of Ideas.

You can review 2012 conference information on the 2012 conference webpages at:

ASC 2011 Conference on Listening
Richmond, IN

The 2011 ASC Conference was held in Richmond, Indiana 9-15 August 2011.

The conference theme was Listening. The programme was designed to be of interest to everyone whose concerns are closely related to careful listening: Therapists, managers, musicians, designers, educators and cyberneticians generally. You can learn more about the 2011 conference by visiting the conference webpage at:


C:ADM2010 Conference
Troy NY

The 2010 ASC Conference was held at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY, July 29 - August 5.

The conference title is Cybernetics: Art, Design, Mathematics - A Meta-Disciplinary Conversation (C:ADM2010)

You can review 2010 conference information on the 2010 Conference webpages at:


ASC 2009 Conference
Olympia WA

March 12th to 15th, 2009: Olympia Washington

The next meeting of the American Society for Cybernetics will be held on March 12-15, 2009, in Olympia, Washington. The conference title is "Cybernetics Talk Dance Anticommunication".

For more information, please go to the ASC 2009 Conference webpage:

ASC 2008 Conference
BCL (Biological Computation Laboratory) 50th Anniversary

May 11th to 15th, 2008: Urbana Illinois

2008 represented the 50th anniversary of the founding, by Heinz von Foerster, of the Biological Computer Laboratory at the University of Illinois, Urbana / Champaign. The BCL a cauldron of cybernetics and the home of second order cybernetics, featured a star studded cast of membes and visitors. Heinz was also one of the founders of the ASC, which has provided a spiritual home for second order cybernetics since its origination.

Our conference celebrated this remarkable laboratory in joint festival with the Department of Electrical Engineering at UIUC, which was the umbrella under which the BCL sheltered.

This event was organized to coincide with the 8th Understanding Complex Systems (UCS) Symposium (12 - 15 May) on the topic Informatics, Energy and Others.

For more information, please go to the ASC 2008 Conference legacy webpage:

ASC 2007 Conference Urbana Illinois: March 29 - April 1, 2007

For more information, refer to the 2007 Conference Webpage

July 2006
Sonoma CA
(co-sponsored with ISSS)

In 2006, the annual ASC conference event was combined with the 50th annual ISSS meeting, which ASC co-sponsored:

Sonoma 2006:
The 50th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences
Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California, USA
July 9th - 14th 2006

For more information on the 2006 conference, visit the ISSS Sonoma 2006 Conference Page.

October 2005
Washington DC

The 2005 ASC conference (27 - 30 October in Washington DC) was organized around the theme 'The Many Interpretations and Applications of Cybernetics'.

To access the conference proceedings online, please go to:

The 2005 ASC Conference Proceedings online at the George Washington University website

For an archive of the announcement and data posted prior to the conference, visit the 2005 Conference Information Page.

August 2004

The 2004 ASC Conference was held in Toronto during the week of 4 - 8 August 2004. The theme for the conference was 'Well-Being of Systems'.

For more information on this past conference, visit the 2004 Conference Information Page.

To access download-able versions of some of the Conference contributions, visit the 2004 Conference Programme Page.


November 2003

The 2003 ASC Conference was held in Vienna (Austria) in mid-November 2003. ASC entered into a collaborative co-sponsorship for two events focusing on the work and the contributions of Heinz von Foerster.

For more information on this recent conference, visit the 2003 Conference Information Page.


Santa Cruz

ASC's 2002 Conference was held June 13 -16, 2002, at the Baskin Visual Arts Studios and The Music Center, University of California Santa Cruz.

The theme of the 2002 Conference was:

Ecological Understanding II: Design and Conversation

The objective of the conference was to address two questions:

  • What can understanding of conversation bring to an understanding of ecology?
  • What can ecological understanding bring to design?

For more information, visit the 2002 Conference Legacy Page.

The Legacy Page offers archival information on the event, its itinerary, and a set of presentation materials, abstracts, notes, etc., submitted by 2002 Conference presenters for inclusion here on the ASC website.


ASC's 2001 Conference was held May 27 - 29, 2001 (with extended activities May 23 - 25) at the University of British Columbia Conference Center in Vancouver.

The theme of the 2001 Conference was:

The Praxis of Cybernetics and the Cybernetics of Praxis

In our 2001 conference we explored and discussed the "praxis" of cybernetics, that is, its application in any domain. Equally important, we also explored the cybernetics of praxis, that is, what the awareness of how we do what we do modulates our activity in any domain. This was a conference for the practical and for the visionary. As such we envisioned it as an event of interest for the practical visionary and the reflective practitioner. We could say that we are concerned with the heart and soul of what we do.

For more information, visit the 2001 Conference Legacy Page.

The Legacy Page offers archival information on the event, its itinerary, abstracts, and an archive of selected papers.



    • March 1946: First conference sponsored by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, New York, NY.
    • October 1946: Second Macy conference, New York City
    • March 1947: Third Macy conference, New York City
    • October 1947: Fourth Macy conference, New York City
    • Spring 1948: Fifth Macy conference, New York City
    • March 1949: Sixth Macy conference, New York City



    • March 1950: Seventh Macy conference, New York City
    • March 1951: Eighth Macy conference, New York City
    • March 1952: Ninth Macy conference, New York City
    • April 1953: Tenth Macy conference, New York City
    • 1959 Conference on Self-Organizing Systems


  • 1961 Conference on Principles of Self-Organization, Allerton Park, Monticello, IL (Pre-ASC )
  • 1962 Conference on Self-Organizing Systems, Chicago, IL (Pre-ASC )
  • 1964 Inaugural Meeting of ASC, Cosmos Club, Washington, DC
  • 1964 Conference on Cybernetics and Society, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • 1967 First Annual Cybernetics Symposium, "Purposive Systems” (proceedings edited by von Foerster, 1968)
  • 1968 Second Annual Cybernetics Symposium, "Cybernetics and the Management of Large Systems", National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, MD (proceedings edited by Dewan, 1969)
  • 1969 Third Annual Symposium of the ASC on "Cybernetics, Simulation and Conflict Resolution" (proceedings edited by Knight, Curtis and Fogel, 1971)



    • 1970 ASC Conference on "Cybernetics, Artificial Intelligence and Ecology", Washington, DC (proceedings edited by Robinson & Knight, 1972)
    • 1971 ASC Conference on "Cybernetic Techniques in Brain Research and the Eductional Process", Washington, DC
    • 1972 First European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research, Vienna, Austria
    • 1972 ASC Conference on "Biocybernetics and Complex Systems: Cybernetics and International Relations", Washington, DC
    • 1972 Second International Congress of Cybernetics and Systems
    • 1972 ASC and IEEE International Conference on "Cybernetics and Society", Washington, DC
    • 1972 ASC and AAAS Meeting
    • 1973 Conference on "Fragmented Society and the Physically Disabled", Brookings Institution, Washington, DC (associated with ASC)
    • 1974 Second European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research, Vienna, Austria
    • 1974 IEEE conference on "General Systems, Environment and Man", Dallas,TX (a joint meeting with SGSR)
    • 1974 ASC conference on "Communication and Control in Society", Philadelphia, PA (chair Klaus Krippendorff)
    • 1975 Third International Congress of Cybernetics and Systems, Bucharest, Romania
    • 1976 Third European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research, Vienna, Austria
    • 1977 NATO's First International Conference on "Applied General Systems Theory", Binghamton, NY (chair George Klir)
    • 1978 IEEE International Conference on "Cybernetics and Society", Tokyo, Japan
    • NATO's Third Advanced Study Institute on Information Science, Maleme, Chania, Crete
    • 1978 Fourth European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research, Vienna, Asutria



    • 1980 Fifth European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research, Vienna, Austria
    • 1980 ASC planning conference, April 18-20, GWU, Washington, DC
    • 1981 ASC conference on "The New Cybernetics", Oct. 29 - Nov. 1, GWU, Washington, DC (chair Larry Richards, local arrangements Stuart Umpleby)
    • 1982 ASC planning conference, March 26-27, GWU, Washington, DC
    • 1982 ASC conference on "Cybernetics and Education", Oct. 18-20, Columbus, OH (chair John Hayman, local arrangements Jon Cunnyngham)
    • 1983 ASC conference, Oct. 6-10, San Jose, CA (chair Bill Reckmeyer)
    • 1984 ASC conference, Vancouver, BC (chair Kathleen Forsythe)
    • 1984 Gordon Research Conference on "Cybernetics", Aug. 27-31, New Hampton, NH (co-chairs Leo Steg and Heinz von Foerster, coordinator Stuart Umpleby)
    • 1984 ASC conference on "Autonomy, Dependence, Intervention", Nov. 1-4, Philadelphia, PA (chair Fred Steier)
    • 1986 ASC conference on "Conversations in Cybernetics", Feb. 19-23, Virginia Beach, VA (chair Larry Richards)
    • 1986 Gordon Research Conference on "Cybernetics", June 9-13, Wolfeboro, NH (co-chairs Heinz von Foerster and Ernst von Glasersfeld)
    • 1987 ASC conference on "Development of Social Systems", March 15-19, St. Gallen, Switzerland (chair Gilbert Probst)
    • 1987 ASC conference on "Creative Cybernetics", Dec. 2-5, Urbana, IL (chair Mark Enslin)
    • 1988 Gordon Research Conference on "Cybernetics", January 18-22, Oxnard, CA, (co-chairs Ernst von Glasersfeld and Paul Pangaro)
    • 1988 ASC conference on "Intelligent Networks... and Beyond", June 15-20, Victoria, BC (chair Larry Richards)
    • 1988 ASC conference on "Texts in Cybernetic Theory", October 18-23, Felton, CA (chair Rod Donaldson)
    • 1989 ASC conference on "Connections", Nov. 9-12, Virginia Beach, VA (co-chairs Chris Berendes and Fred Steier)



    • 1990 ASC conference on "Ecological Understanding", August 8-12, Oslo, Norway (chair Per Helmersen)
    • 1990 ASC conference on "Art, Cybernetics: Society", October 18-22, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (co-chairs Carole Ip, and Gary Boyd)
    • 1991 ASC conference on "Cybernetics: its Evolution and its Praxis", July 17-21, Amherst, MA (chair Sandy Blount)
    • 1992 ASC conference on "Language, Emotion, the Social and the Ethical", October 28-Nov. 1, Seabeck, WA (chair Rod Donaldson)
    • 1993 ASC Mini-conference on "The Teaching of the Teaching of Cybernetics", January 28-31, Norfolk, VA (chair Larry Richards)
    • 1993 ASC conference on "Cybernetics in the Art of Learning", Nov. 3-7, Philadelphia, PA (chair Frank Galuszka)
    • 1995 ASC conference on "Circularity", May 17-21, Chicago, IL (co-chairs Steve Sloan and Lou Kauffman)
    • 1997 ASC Conference on "Continuing the Conversation", March 8-12, Urbana, IL (co-chairs Judy Lombardi, Mark Enslin, Arun Chandra, Herbert Brün, Stuart Umpleby)
    • 1998 ASC Conference on "Design, Planning, and Human Understanding", April 2-5, University of California, Santa Cruz (chair Frank Galuzska)
    • 1999 ASC 1999 International Syntegration Workshop and 32nd Annual Conference, March 29- April 1, Falls Church, Virginia (chair Ern Reynolds, syntegration coordinator Allena Leonard)



    • 2000 ASC Conversational Conference on Cybernetics, a Circularity in Praxis and Ethics, July 15, Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto, Ontario (co-chairs Pille Bunnell and Kathleen Forsythe)
    • 2000 World Congress of Systems Sciences, July 16-19, Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto, Ontario (conference organizer Peter A. Corning, local organizer Helmut Burkhardt). This Congress was co-hosted by over 20 organizations including the ASC. There were plenary sessions each morning, followed by afternoon panel discussions and evening events. The ASC contributed a Plenary talk "Conservation and Change" by Humberto Maturana, a Panel on "Conservation and Change, a Circularity in Ethics and Environment."
    • 2001 ASC workshop on Treasures of Second-Order Cybernetics, May 23-25, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia (coordinator Scott Carley)
    • 2001 ASC conference on Cybernetics of Practice and Practice of Cybernetics, May 27-29, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia (chair Pille Bunnell, grants and promotion Kathleen Forsythe, treasurer Diane Levings, Registrar Felisa Fullerton, media relations Colin Wright, site logistics Jean Paul Froidevaux, event logistics Teresita Tubianosa, co-sponsor representative Fleurette Sweeney)
    • 2001 public forum on Remaining Human, May 26-28, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia (co-sponsors American Society for Cybernetics, the Center for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of British Columbia, the Sweeney Family Foundation, and Common Ground Magazine)


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