School of Information Science - Hall of Fame

Jay W. Forrester
  • Jay W. Forrester
  • Born: July 14, 1918
  • Field: Computer hardware; computer engineering; business management
  • Focus: Developed first real-time electronic digital computer. Involved in research and education of business management and related disciplines.
  • Country: United States
  • Era: 1950 to 1969

Jay Forrester is considered to be one of the pioneers in the development of early digital computer equipment. Forrester along with Robert Everett created Whirlwind, which was the first real-time electronic digital computer. This creation was the result of the two men being contracted by the U.S. Navy to develop a universal flight trainer and aircraft simulator. The only machines at that time were analog calculating machines and they knew these types of machines could not accomplish the task. The Whirlwind had a random access magnetic core memory. This techology would continue to be used long after this project. RAM was another development that resulting from this project.

Forrester made a career change into business. He is currently the Germeshausen Professor Emeritus of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and developed the System Dynamics National Model which generates the major observed modes of economic behavior. System dynamics combines theory, methods and philosophy for analyzing the behavior of systems. Applications are in the fields of management, politics, environmental change, economic behavior, medicine, education, and engineering.

Related Links