In March 2004, with support from the Program in Science, Technology, Information and Medicine (STIM), Andrew Pickering, Peter Asaro, and John Wedge organized a Centenary Conference in Urbana-Champaign to honor Ross. In the course of a series of invited lectures and panel discussions, Ross's former students, members of his family, historians of science, and leaders in the fields of information and systems theory reflected on his life and legacy.
The conference included the following sessions:
Stuart Kauffman - "Understanding Genetic Regulatory Networks"
Stephen Wolfram - "Exploring the Computational Universe: The Path Cybernetics Could Have Taken"
Session I - Moderator: Thomas von Foerster
Stuart A. Umpleby - "Ashby's 'Mechanistic' Approach to Science"
Klaus Krippendorff - "W. Ross Ashby's Information Theory and Some Solutions of Problems He Posed"
George J. Klir - "W. Ross Ashby: A Pioneer of Systems Science"
Session II - Moderator: Paul Weston
Panel Discussion: "Ashby & Complex Systems"
Chair: Alfred Hubler, Director, Center for Complex Systems Research
Panel: Stuart Kauffman, Stephen Wolfram, George Klir
Paul Pangaro & Michael Geoghegan - "Design for a Self-Regenerating Organization"
Kevin Warwick "The Philosophy of W. Ross Ashby: Grandfather of the Matrix?"
Session III - Moderator: Andrew Pickering
Crayton Walker (in absentia, read by John Wedge) "W. Ross Ashby, Some Reminiscences"
Peter Asaro - "Ashby's Embodied Representations: Towards a Theory of Perception and Mind"
Peter Cariani - "Epistemology and Mechanism: Ashby's Theory of Adaptive Systems"
Session IV - Moderator: Stuart Umpleby
Andrew Pickering - "The Go Of It: Synthetic Brains, Cybernetics & Psychiatry in the Work of Ross Ashby"
Mick Ashby - "W. Ross Ashby: The Man Who Swallowed a Rainbow"
John Ashby - "The Notebooks of W. Ross Ashby"
Panel Discussion: "Ashby Remembered"
Chair: Stuart Umpleby
Panel: Jill Ashby, Sally Bannister, Ruth Pettit, John Ashby, Mick Ashby, George Klir, Dennis Nyberg, Paul Weston
Many of the papers that were presented at the conference were published in International Journal of General Systems Volume 38, Issue 2, "The Intellectual Legacy of W. Ross Ashby", edited by Peter M. Asaro and George J. Klir.
Centenary Conference Photos
The following photographs were taken during the conference and at the pre-conference evening meal.
Members of Ross Ashby's family: Jill Ashby, Sally Bannister, Patrick and Ruth Pettit
Ruth Pettit, Jill Ashby, and Sally Bannister
Jill Ashby and George Klir
Klaus Krippendorff and Stuart Umpleby
Patrick Pettit, George Klir, Klaus Krippendorff, and Peter Asaro