Systems, Man & Cybernetics - January 2015 - 17

by James M. Tien

A

discussion of my two-year
(1990-1991) presidency can
only be meaningful in a
broader historical context [1]; I was
only the 12th IEEE Systems, Man,
and Cybernetics Society (SMCS)
president. The SMCS was formally
established in 1970 by the merger of
two groups in the IEEE-the Man-
Machine Systems Group and the
Systems Science and Cybernetics
Group. From the beginning, these
two groups were oriented toward
modeling over a
spectrum of fields,
r a n g i n g f r om t he
modeling of biological
functions to largescale socioeconomic
systems, with man-
machine systems of
all kinds in between.
The members were
largely researchers
James m. tien
in academia or in
industrial laboratories or consulting
firms. Parenthetically, I felt a kinship
to SMCS, inasmuch as I bega n
my career as a researcher at Bell
Telephone Laboratories, then as an
analyst at the Rand Corporation
before becoming an academic. Thus,
the SMCS was incubated through the
merger of two IEEE groups; in turn,
these two groups were established
in the late 1950s and the early 1960s
with the merger of the Institute of
Radio Engineers and the American
Institute of Electrical Engineers in
1963 to form the present-day IEEE.
In 1991, we also undertook an indepth review of the appropriateness
of our Society's name-Systems,
Man, and Cybernetics. These three
words actually represent a shorthand for more lengthy terms. The
word "systems" includes the methods
and tools of systems engineering,
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MSMC.2015.2395933
Date of publication: 24 April 2015

My Perspective
as a Past
President
the related design and development
methodologies, and the systems management processes. "Man" includes
human-centered decision making, humanoriented processes,
a nd m a n - m a ch i ne
interactions. "Cybernetics" includes command, control, and
communications between and among humans and machines.
Given the manner in
which the SMCS was
established, it is not surprising that it
has become an incubator for related
technological thrusts. For example,
back in the late 1980s, we could track
activities in health care, transportation, pattern recognition, and decision making to technical committees
within the SMCS and later to new
entities outside SMCS. Thus, pattern
analysis and machine intelligence became a dominant focus of the IEEE
Computer Society. Similarly, SMCS
joined several other non-IEEE societies to form the Winter Simulation
Conference. Clearly, SMCS, itself the
result of having been in an incubator
environment, had become a recognized incubator for new technologies
at the cutting edge of technology.
First, robotics and automation, then
neural networks, became newly incubated IEEE entities during the
intellectually fertile period of 1990-
1991. SMCS was recognized as a key
sponsoring Society of both the IEEE
Robotics and Automation Society
Ja nu a r y 2015

and the then-IEEE Neural Networks
Council. Alternatively, the breadth
of SMCS interests in 1990-1991 was
likewise reflected in the range of
primary words used in the titles of
SMCS transactions papers: agents,
algorithms, architecture, automatic,
complexity, computational, decision,
detection, diagnosis, dynamic, experimental, fault, flexible, functions,
fuzzy, generalization, graph, human,
image, information, integration, intelligent, knowledge, learning, manufacturing, modeling, motion, multiagent,
network, optimal, process, reasoning,
robotics, search, simulation, systems,
theory, and visual.
Another critical focus of the Society in the early 1990s was to recognize and underscore the international
character of our membership. While
the IEEE itself was already an international organization in 1990 (with
22.2% of its 288,000 members located outside of the United States), the
comparable statistic for SMCS was
40.6% of its 4,800 members. More specifically, and in terms of the four nonU.S. IEEE Regions, the 40.6% was distributed as follows: 4.6% in Region 7
(Canada), 17.5% in Region 8 (Europe,
Africa, and Russia), 2.6% in RegionĀ 9
(South America), and 15.9% in RegionĀ  10 (the Pacific Rim). More impressive, out of the 35 IEEE Societies and two Councils, SMCS ranked
third in terms of the proportion of
non-U.S. members, behind the Industrial Electronics Society (with 43.2%)
and the Power Electronics Society
(with 41.3%).

IEEE SyStEmS, man, & CybErnEtICS magazInE

17



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Systems, Man & Cybernetics - January 2015

Systems, Man & Cybernetics - January 2015 - Cover1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - January 2015 - Cover2
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - January 2015 - 1
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - January 2015 - Cover3
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - January 2015 - Cover4
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