William Ross Ashby (1903-1972) was a British pioneer in the fields of Cybernetics and Systems Theory. He is best known for the Law of Requisite Variety, for his books Design for a Brain (1952) and An Introduction to Cybernetics (1956), and for building the Homeostat.
In January 2003, Ross’s daughters gave his archive materials to The British Library, London. Then, in March 2004, at the end of the W. Ross Ashby Centenary Conference, they announced that they would make Ross’s Journal available on the Internet. Now, in 2008, this web site fulfills that promise, making this previously unpublished work available on-line.
Ross’s Journal consists of more than one million words on 7,400 pages in 25 volumes, and the index has 860 cards. To make it easy to browse purposefully through so many images, extensive cross-linking has been added, based on the keywords in Ross’s original index.
The Biography describes Ross’s life in more detail than has previously been available in the public domain, and includes many photographs from the family’s private albums. This site also hosts a set of Forums for comments, questions, and discussions about Ross and his work. Various other information and resources can be accessed via the navigation frame on the left.
Whatever vibrates is a musical instrument: whatever is stable is a mechanical brain — the difficulty lies in making a particular one.