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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The Cybernetics Society
The Annual Conference of the Cybernetics Society  CybCon 2003 was held at the London School of Economics, Houghton, London, UK on 13 September 2003. Its title was “Recent Topics in Cybernetics”. Although a one-day conference, a very busy programme of presentations were scheduled. They included the following
• Dr Bernard Scott FCybS, Cranfield University, Royal Military College of Science“Topic Maps and Learning Design”Pask and Scott pioneered Course Assembly System and Tutorial Environment (CASTE) in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Today, Web technology can facilitate CASTE like learning and Designs. I review progress and pointers to developments.• Mr Tony Wikes, Organum Ltd“Moores Law: a Boon or a Burden?”Techniques such as abstractions, interfaces and high level languages have made today's software possible, but the final binaries are inefficient. As the CMOS end-point is approached runtime efficiency bears new examination.• Dr Angela Espinosa, University of Hull“The VSM as Criteria for Developing an Eco-regional Approach to Sustainable Development – A Colombian Experience”The Viable System Model (S. Beer) offers good criteria for improving organisations dealing with environmental problems. The problem of forming a meta-view, improvements achieved with an eco-regional approach to sustainable development, and new questions for researchers in the field are described.• Dr John St. Quinton, Zetetic Systems“The Analysis of Meaning: a Technique for Machine and Man”A theory based on conceptual reference is presented which provides the means for analysing the written or spoken manifestations of cognition in terms of the semantic components involved. The associated analytical technique, described in both algorithmic and heuristic forms, can be applied to any assertion to detect and resolve semantic ambiguity, paradox and sophistry.• Dr Ranulph Glanville FCybS, School of Architecture+Design, RMIT University, Melbourne“Cybernetics: Ethics: Behaviour”Cybernetics can be considered to be based on behaviour. Observing behaviours, we construct machines based on state transitions. Nothing could seem more mechanical or less concerned with ethics. But the extension of early cybernetic studies into second order cybernetics has changed how we evaluate behaviour, raising questions of responsibility that lead to the appearance of ethical considerations.• Dr David Dewhurst FCybS, Cybernetics Society"Games Theory, Monopoly and the Vivarium: Default Limitations of Simulation Models”Von Neumann and Morgenstern showed non-zero-sum optimisation may be reconstructed as zero-sum games in such fields as sociobiology, economics, management, military and political strategy and individual values. Widespread misapplication of this leads us to miss crucial features of real complex systems.• Dr Petros A.M. Gelepithis FCybS Director, Cognitive Science Laboratory, Kingston University, England“Towards an Axiomatic Theory of Mind”An axiomatic approach towards a Theory of Mind (ToM) is illustrated. We specify necessary and sufficient conditions for intelligence as part of a ToM and a suggestion for the nature of consciousness. We conclude with a brief summary of further work.• Mr Karl-Gustav Hansson, Statistics Sweden“Improving National Accounts”Preliminary and revised national accounts are not integrated. Economic analysis and forecasting is dependant on what version of accounts is used. The production of effective and useful national accounts by continuous updating of economic data can produce monthly, quarterly and yearly national accounts. An outline for a PC solution is suggested.• Dr John Chandler FCybS, Real Time Study Group“Iraq”As better axioms are developed for forecasting of outcomes Saddam Hussein's grip on power is analysed and methods for the removal of oppressive regimes considered.• Dr Graham Barnes, Inform Lab“What Theory does to Practice and Practice does to Practitioners”Subject to Revision. The author of “Justice, Love and Wisdom” is currently working todevelop democracy in Croatia.
A further report of CybCon 2003 will be included in a coming issue of this journal and it is hoped that some of the presentations given at the conference will also be published.
Note1.The Cybernetics Society – The UK national learned society and professional body promoting pure and applied cybernetics was Founded at King's College London in 1968, registered under the Friendly Societies Act 1974. Register No. 195 SA. Registered Office: 3 Willow Grove, Welwyn Garden City, Herts AL8 7NA. For further information about the Society, see also the Web site: http://www.cybsoc.org/