Volume 19 – Number 3 September 2006
Greetings from the Society home office. The Nijmegen conference was a great success; we are settling into our newly renovated office space and getting ready for 2007. Already wonderful plans are emerging for the 2007 Boston Conference, our 25th consecutive international research conference and also the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the field of system dynamics. Conference highlights will include special events celebrating our history as well as our future. Mark your calendar–July 29 to August 2, 2007–and join in! Please find enclosed the 2007 Call for Papers.
Also enclosed is your 2007 membership renewal form. In 1984 there were 86 regular members and 18 student members. We exceeded the 1000-member mark for the first time in 2005, and we have achieved this again in 2006. Students have consistently comprised about 20% of our membership and they are a treasured constituency of the Society.
Another group of precious members are those who have renewed year after year from the twenty-or-so countries that have only one or two members each. (We have members in close to 60 countries overall.) How to give these lone members company? You may already know about the Wiley Sponsored Membership to the System Dynamics Society. Partnering with our publisher, John Wiley & Sons, we are presenting a limited-time complimentary membership. The purpose of this new category of membership is to encourage the growth of the system dynamics community in developing countries. Please spread the word about this opportunity. As a member of the Society, you can inform students, as well as others who would benefit from membership but may not have the financial resources to become a member at present. More information about the Wiley Sponsored Membership, qualifying guidelines and an application form may be found on the Society website. Click on the gray button “How to Join or Renew.”
This year’s conference was the largest outside of North America with 467 registrants. One attendee wrote in to say, “Once again, thank you for everything. This connection has just heightened my skills, enthusiasm, and interest.” Much more information about the conference will be in the October E-Newsletter, but in case you do not already know, Thomas Fiddaman received the Jay Wright Forrester Award for his work “Exploring Policy Options with a Behavioral Climate-Economy Model” which was published in the System Dynamics Review in 2002.
Policy Council: As always, there was a long but valuable PC meeting at the conference. It was decided that the 2008 conference will be in Athens, Greece and the 2009 conference will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As you already know, the 2007 conference will be in Boston. Since next year’s conference is to be a special occasion marking the first 50 years of system dynamics, the conference will be held in close proximity to its birthplace.
Another decision was to contract with our publisher, John Wiley & Sons, to have all back issues of the System Dynamics Review available electronically on the InterScience website. To complement this project, and as part of the forthcoming 50th anniversary celebration, volunteer Laura Taranto from MIT is in the process of digitizing the entire ten-year run of Dynamica, a precursor of the Review. This collection of papers is a great testament to early work in the field. Substantial progress has been made on the project and it should be available in time for the conference. Thanks again to Bradford University for allowing us to proceed with this important project.
The Council also had the opportunity to welcome the new Psychology Chapter. It was also noted that the motion for the new Information Science and Information Systems Special Interest Group (iSIG) was passed during the Winter Policy Council E-Meeting. This brings the Society total to sixteen Chapters and six Special Interest Groups. For more information on these, please visit the Society website and click on the gray button “Society Activities.”
Creator of the system dynamics field joins IFORS’ OR Hall of Fame: The announcement was made in Nijmegen at a plenary session given by David Lane of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Jay Forrester has been made a member of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies’ OR Hall of Fame. The OR Hall of Fame is intended to celebrate OR pioneers and inductees are selected by a panel drawn from the international OR community. Induction is formally marked by the publication in International Transactions in Operational Research (the IFORS official journal) of a biography of the individual concerned, describing their contribution to OR. Jay’s citation begins: “Creator of the system dynamics modelling technique and a life-long practitioner and advocate of its use to promote long-term policy analysis, learning about complex organizations and the redesign of such organizations.” Nathan Forrester read a response from his father.
The full article is now available online as:
Lane DC. 2006. IFORS’ Operational Research Hall of Fame - Jay Wright Forrester. International Transactions in Operational Research 13: 483-492.
The IFORS’ Operational Research Hall of Fame currently has 23 members. For information on the purpose of the scheme, and to find out more, go to http://www.ifors.org/hall/
There have been some changes here at the Society office. Last year we moved into new office space, just across the hall from where we were located since the Society moved to the University at Albany in 1997. The new space is about twice the size of the previous space. Over the summer, the entire third floor was renovated; we moved out in May (temporarily to a classroom on the second floor) and recently relocated back into our newly appointed offices at the end of August. We now have more space for the home office, a packing and distribution center, and space for meetings and visitors. Our offices are much more efficient! We continue to maintain an excellent relationship with the University at Albany.
Additionally, we have hired a graduate assistant and a new bibliographer. We would like to introduce Navid Ghaffarzadegan and Lauren Sinacore. Navid was formerly studying at Sharif University in Tehran, Iran and is now at the Rockefeller College. Navid will be working in the Society office on a number of projects. Our bibliographer, Lauren, is beginning her second year in the University of Albany’s graduate Information Science program.
The Society Web Presence from Bob Eberlein
We are in the process of redesigning the Society website to better accommodate our growing membership, especially our Chapters and Special Interest Groups. Currently a number of Chapters and SIGs host their own websites and email lists in a variety of locations. We will be bringing that all together to improve communication and provide a consistent home for content related to system dynamics and the Society. Each Chapter and SIG will be provided with a website that is integrated with the main Society website. To accomplish this we will be moving the Society website off of the University of Albany computer network, which has graciously hosted our website for the past decade.
This is a bit of a grand redesign and I am looking for a few enthusiastic volunteers who might want to help with overall web design, support for Wikis, mailing list setup and related things. If you have some experience in these areas and would like to lend a hand please send an email to me at email@example.com.
The System Dynamics Newsletter is published up to four times a year by the System Dynamics Society.