Minutes of the Meeting of the Policy Council of the System Dynamics Society

22 July 1996

Cambridge Center Mariott

Cambridge, Massachusetts USA

In Attendance.


James Hines (Vice President - Meetings), David Lane (Vice President - Publications), John D. W. Morecroft (President), Alexander L. Pugh, III (Vice President - Finance), Michael J. Radzicki (Secretary), George Richardson (President Elect), Henry Weil (Vice President - Member Activities)

Policy Council:

Lou Alfeld, David Andersen, Yaman Barlas, Geoff Coyle, Isaac Dyner, Robert Eberlein, Jay W. Forrester (Founding President), Saburo Kameyama, David Kreutzer, Erik Larsen, Michiya Morita, Erling Moxness, Sauwakon Ratanawijitrasin


Paal Davidsen, Andy Ford, David Ford, Dao-Hoon Kim, Hironori Kurono, Ralph Levine, Peter Milling, Paul Newton, Phares Parayno, Roberta Spencer, John D. Sterman, Diane Taylor, Quifan Wang

1. Call to Order.

The meeting was called to order at 5:15 PM by President Morecroft.

2. 1997 System Dynamics Conference.

Yaman Barlas, 1997 conference chairman, gave a report on preparations for the 1997 conference, to be held from August 19-22, 1997, in Istanbul, Turkey. A ten member organizing committee, consisting of four local members and six international members, and an eleven member program committee, consisting of four local members and seven international members, have been formed.

Barlas passed out a brochure indicating that the conference theme is a "Systems Approach to Learning and Education into the 21st Century." This particular theme was chosen because it is seen as a "hot" topic and because a theme makes it is easier to raise money (A theme relieves Barlas of the need to continually explain that the conference is not another engineering conference.). Barlas pointed out however that, despite the theme, people are welcome to submit system dynamics papers to the conference on ANY topic they choose.

In terms of proceedings, Barlas pointed out that there will be a four page limit to submissions, but that persons can submit papers up to eight pages in length if they are willing to pay a higher fee. A virtual proceedings will also be maintained.

President Morecroft thanked Barlas on behalf of the Society and noted that his handling of the proceedings, in particular, was outstanding due to their flexibility.

3. Future Conferences.

Vice President - Meetings Jim Hines began his report by noting that, after the question of the future administration of the Society is decided, the Policy Council should address the issue of having the Society conference organized by a professional staff. He further argued that, perhaps, the conference site should be restricted to two or three cities in order to make its finances more predictable. If conference finances were to become more predictable, he argued, the Society might be willing to underwrite their cost and, hence, relieve the conference organizers and/or their institutions of the burden.

In terms of future conference sites, Hines reported that Paal Davidsen and David Ford of the University of Bergen (Norway) had volunteered to organize the 2000 conference, but that no person had volunteered to organize either the 1998 or 1999 conferences. John Sterman reminded the Council that, at the Tokyo conference, it had reaffirmed its policy of alternating conference sites between North America and Europe or Asia, because the centroid of the Society is still North America. As a consequence, the pattern of conference sites should be: 1996 (North America), 1997 (Europe or Asia), 1998 (North America), 1999 (Europe or Asia), 2000 (North America). If Davidsen and Ford wish to host the 2000 conference, the pattern of conference sites should be: 1996 (North America), 1997 (Europe or Asia), 1998 (North America), 1999 (North America), 2000 (Europe or Asia). This would preserve the policy of holding the conference in North America, on average, every other year.

Hines reminded the Council that last year persons from three nations (Australia, New Zealand, and Portugal) had expressed an interest in hosting the conference. He indicated that he would contact these people to see if they were still interested, and that he would also try to identify other potential organizers. President Morecroft asked Hines to report on his progress at the next Policy Council meeting.

4. Future Format of Conference Proceedings.

John Sterman presented a handout outlining the benefits (e.g., no heavy volumes to "lug" around, no issue of page limitations on papers) of substituting virtual proceedings on the World Wide Web for paper proceedings at Society conferences. Yaman Barlas, however, argued that the Council should collect more data on Web availability before deciding on the virtual proceedings issue.

George Richardson moved and Erling Moxnes seconded a motion that "The Policy Council adopt the general principle that the conference proceedings be made virtual, as described in John Sterman's handout, for the 1998 conference and beyond, and that the Society provide, at cost, print-outs of the papers requested by those who do not have access to the Web." The motion passed.

Peter Milling wondered if a CD version of the 1998 proceedings could be made available. The consensus of the Council was that this had been investigated in the past and deemed an inappropriate solution to the proceedings problem. Jay Forrester wondered if copies of ALL of the conference papers could be placed on a Society server, so as to preserve the historical record of the field. The consensus of the Council was that this was a good idea and that the Society's (future) professional staff could handle this task.

5. Placing Society Information on the Web.

President Morecroft charged Mike Radzicki and Bob Eberlein with the task of investigating the placement of Society information (e.g., minutes of Policy Council meetings; lists of Society presidents, Forrester Award winners, conference sites; membership and publication data; application forms) on the World Wide Web.

6. Adjournment.

Jack Pugh moved and Jay Forrester seconded a motion "to adjourn the meeting." The meeting was adjourned at 6:47 PM.

Respectfully submitted.

Michael J. Radzicki