2007/11/04 abstracts deadline for EMCSR 2008/03/25-28, Vienna

EMCSR: a fuller briefing

European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research, Vienna, March 25 to 28, 2008.

Symposium C: The Cybernetics of Cybernetics: Cybernetics, Interaction andConversation

I am never sure if it irritates to receive reminders and elaborations, or if it's helpful. If this message is likely to irritate you, please read no further and accept my apologies. Please also accept apologies for any cross postings.

The EMCSR meeting is scheduled to take place in the week after Easter (March 25 to 28, 2008), in Vienna. I felt that a fuller briefing might be of interest.

I have, at the last two conferences, chaired the session on Cybernetics of Cybernetics etc-also known as Second Order Cybernetics. Central features of this sort of cybernetics are an interest in interaction and conversation, though they are not the only concerns. I included these words as a small homage to Gordon Pask, who ran a symposium at EMCSR from 1974 until 1994. My wish, in launching the symposium, was to have a place where the emphasis could be on cybernetics discussed in its own terms, as a subject in its own right-rather than as an applied science in which utility is the main concern.

There is a remarkable serendipity concerning Pask in Vienna at the moment: on November 16 his archive at the University of Vienna (where it sits next to the archive of Heinz von Foerster) will be publicly launched in a grand ceremony, and there will be a seminar on his work.

In March, I hope to be able to take this further. While Symposium C will continue its focus on the Cybernetics of Cybernetics, I am also encouraging a special sub-theme on this particular occasion: the work of Gordon Pask. I hope there will be a considerable response that may spark a revival of interest in and understanding of his work.

I have negociated an art gallery so that there can be an art component to the symposium (I am not yet sure how to fund this)-you will be aware of Gordon's interest and participation in the arts-and Dr Albert Mueller, the Pask (and von Foerster) archivist will take a special guided tour to the archive for members of the symposium.

There is a publication programme associated with the Pask archive. At the official announcement of the archive in November, an introductory book "Gordon Pask, Philosopher Mechanic: an introduction to the cybernetician's cybernetician" edited by Karl Mueller and myself will be launched. A Reader is planned, and the proceedings of the symposium sub topic will provide a third stream.

You can see there is a lot of promise. And Pask's work was quintessentially second order cybernetic, right from the outset. So a focus on his work fits perfectly within the symposium, without distortion.

Below you can find the original message I sent out, together with the web site where you can get more details. Abstracts are due in on November 4th. I invite you to consider taking part in this great re-awakening. Please join us in Vienna in late March.

Best Wishes,

Ranulph Glanville


The 19th European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research will take place in Vienna during the week after Easter 2008, ie March 25 to 28 (inclusive). This is, historically, the major biennial meeting in Europe. Full details can be found at:

Symposium C is chaired by Ranulph Glanville and takes as its focus second order cybernetics. Because the Gordon Pask Archive will just have been opened at the University of Vienna, it is intended to provide a special stage for contributions that build on the work of Pask's (who was closely associated with the EMCSR conferences), providing an opportunity to build a contribution to the evaluation and celebration of Pask's work. This will not exclude other contributions within the general topic area.

Abstracts are due in on November 4.

A list of the 15 symposia (with their chairs) that form the conference is follows:

  • A Systems Science
    • R. Belohlavek, USA, and P.Prautsch, Czech Republic
  • B Mathematical Methods in Cybernetics and Systems Theory
    • Y.Rav, France, and J.Scharinger, Austria
  • C The Cybernetics of Cybernetics: Cybernetics, Interaction and Conversation
    • R. Glanville, UK
  • D Living Systems Theory
    • G.A.Swanson, USA
  • E Biocybernetics and Mathematical Biology
    • L.M.Ricciardi, Italy
  • F Cultural Systems
    • M.Fischer, UK, and D.Read, USA
  • G Cognitive Rationality, Relativity and Clarity
    • I. Ezhkova, Belgium
  • H Management, Organizational Change, and Innovation
    • M. Mulej, Slovenia
  • I Socio-technical Systems: Design and Use
    • G.Chroust, Austria, and S.Payr, Austria
  • J Neural Computation and Neuroinformatics
    • G.Dorffner, Austria
  • K ACE 2008: Agent Construction and Emotions
    • J.Gratch, USA, and P.Petta, Austria
  • L Agent-Based Modeling & Simulation
    • S.Bandini, Italy, and G.Vizzari, Italy
  • M Natural Language Processing
    • E.Buchberger, Austria, and K.Oliva, Czech Republic
  • N Theory and Applications of Artificial Intelligence
    • V.Marik, Czech Republic, and O.Stepankova, Czech Republic
  • O Systems Movement and Systems Organisations - Challenges, Visions and Roadmaps
    • G.Chroust, Austria, and M.Mulej, Slovenia

Please consult the web site for further information.