Norbert Wiener Conference

Dates: June 24 – 26, 2014
Location: Boston, Massachusetts

IEEE logoNorbert Wiener made contributions across several disciplines during his lifetime. Many of these were immediately relevant, and influenced theories and production during his day. Others were long-term, and only in recent years has it been possible to test their relevance. Separately, Wiener predicted the social impact of robotic, cybernetic and other technologies on the future of society, and after several decades his writing retain their relevance.

In recent years Wiener’s work has been coming to the fore in several fields, from control theory to science, technology and society. This conference will provide an opportunity to look at the full range of Wiener’s contributions, particularly those on the boarder of multiple disciplines that he valued much.

It is hoped that through this review, overlooked work by other researchers of his period will also emerge.

Who should attend the conference

This conference is best suited for professionals actively working in the areas of: Complex Systems, Complexity Science, Service Systems, Infrastructure and Transportation Systems, Environmental and Energy Systems, Defense and Space Systems, Human Life, Economic, Tele-Communication Systems, Social, Political, and Biological and Ecosystems.

Norbert Wiener’s work has applications in Industry, Biology, Art, Medicine, Computer Science and Automation. Several important application areas of Norbert Wiener’s work are expected to dominate at least the next decade, as the unpredictable nature of these application domains can potentially result in near break down conditions such as traffic jams, stock market crashes and wars to mention a few.

Cybernetic methods are relevant for addressing challenging problems arising in these domains and must be refined and expanded to meet the changing needs of the 21st century from a disciplinary to an adaptive multidisciplinary approach. This conference, therefore, aims at bringing together the methods that will require further research and development in order to appropriately address these application domains, and as such offers methods of studying and applying the works of Norbert Wiener in holistic-oriented, system-of-systems (SoS) based decision-oriented practices.

Academicians, Industry Experts, Research Scholars and Students actively working or interested in the areas of Cybernetics, Internet, Web Science, Privacy Issues, Fuzzy Systems, Control Systems, History of Computing, Humanity & Technology, Technology & Societal Transformation and Ethics will benefit from participating in this conference.

Conference format

The Draft Conference Agenda will be published four months before the conference. Currently planned elements of the conference include:

  • A “Personal recollections” evening
  • An IEEE Milestone award and tour to locations where Wiener worked
  • PhD research student symposium
  • Keynote speakers on panels providing multi-disciplinary perspectives reminiscent of the Macy conferences key to Wiener’s approach (see below)
  • Invited speakers
  • Open call peer-reviewed sessions (while attempting to minimise the number of simultaneous streams)
  • Panels and other structures: We are particularly interested in proposals from organizations interested in the conference who would like to incorporate one or more of their own meetings or activities within the conference framework.

The biggest challenge in organizing a conference to reflect Norbert Wiener’s life is to find a structure that doesn’t break up his work into dozens of sub-disciplines, where experts speak to others in the same field. We hope to adopt an approach guided by the Macy Conferences which played an important part in Wiener’s multi-disciplinary work. Our aim is to bring together high profile experts from different disciplines to “re-enact” some of those interactions seven or more decades later. For delegates, attendance gives an opportunity to participate in a unique interaction that can’t be captured in the proceedings.