Abstract for: Remembering Jay: A Life on the Frontier. System Dynamics at Sixty
We remember Jay Forrester, the founder of the field of System Dynamics. From a remote Nebraska ranch to MIT, from servomechanisms to digital computers to System Dynamics, Jay lived his entire life on the frontier. We remember a remarkable man and celebrate a remarkable life of innovation and impact. And, sixty years since Jay founded the field of System Dynamics, we also note how the world has changed. Rapid population and economic growth have created serious environmental and social problems, and bound the world ever more tightly in complex networks of feedbacks. Now, more than ever, solving these problems requires rigorous dynamic modeling and effective methods to help everyone, from senior policymakers to schoolchildren, learn for themselves about the dynamics of complex systems. Fortunately, there has also been astounding progress in the natural and social sciences, in technology, computing, data availability, and other modeling methodologies. These developments create both challenges and opportunities for system dynamics. Therefore, we ask: What would Jay do if he were young today? How would he build on the knowledge, technology, data, and methods we now have to improve the practice of System Dynamics? What must we now do to explore the next frontier?