A web site bringing together resources related to the University of Illinois
Biological Computer Laboratory, 1958–1976


newBCL alumnus Stuart A. Umpleby delivered the 2013 Heinz von Foerster Lecture at the University of Vienna. Entitled “Second Order Cybernetics Then and Now,” the lecture is available online. (Also: PDF abstract and PPT slides.)

newHeinz von Foerster’s The Beginning of Heaven and Earth Has No Name: Seven Days with Second-Order Cybernetics is now published in English by Fordham University Press. (Amazon.com link.)

new Feedback,” a new blog from Open Humanities Press, includes a Science/Technology desk whose inaugural posts (here and here) recall BCL.

newBCL alumnus Alfred Inselberg’s Parallel Coordinates: Visual Multidimensional Geometry and Its Applications, dedicated to (among others) “Heinz von Foerster … Mischiefologist, Magician, Cybernetician, and Teacher.”

Now published: The American edition of Heinz von Foerster and Monika Silvia Broecker's moving, dramatic, and insightful dialogue/memoir, Part of the World: Fractals of Ethics—A Drama in Three Acts, translated by Barabara Anger-Díaz, PhD. Order from Lulu.com as hardcover or e-book.

BCL/IGB a new, permanent art exhibit by Kevin Hamilton commemorating BCL is now open to the public in the third floor atrium of the Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois. Also: Hamilton's blog posts "Cybernetics on the Prairie."

2011 Heinz von Foerster Congress

Bruce Clarke spoke on "Heinz von Foerster and the Systems Counterculture," 16 December 2010 at the University of Vienna.

Alfred Inselberg delivered the 2010 Heinz von Foerster Lecture.

A new German translation of Ricardo Uribe's "Tractatus Paradoxico-Philosophicus" by Thomas Fischer.

BCL at 50
The American Society for Cybernetics commemorated the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Biological Computer Laboratory at the ASC Annual Conference, 11–15 May 2008, at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. The conference took place in close coordination with the annual Understanding Complex Systems Symposium (UCS2008) sponsored by the UIUC Center for Complex Systems Research. Read a news summary. See UCS highlights including BCL speakers.

A. Müller and K. Müller, "An Unfinished Revolution?"
—A new collection about Heinz von Foerster and BCL, now available in the U.S.!


R. Uribe, "Tractatus Paradoxico-Philosophicus"
The new "Red Edition" is now posted in German as well as Spanish, French, and English.

A. Müller, "A brief history of the BCL: Heinz von Foerster and the Biological Computer Laboratory"

—English translation commissioned by the UIUC Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

J. Hutchinson, "'Nerve center' of the cybernetic world: Heinz von Foerster and the Biological Computer Laboratory"

—Historical article with photos and graphics, compiled from primary sources and interviews with BCL alumni

K. Wilson and J. Day, BCL Publications Author Index
—Alphabetical list created to accompany the 1976 BCL Publications Microfiche

J. Hutchinson, "A web site before its time: Navigating cyberspace, then and now" (PDF)

—The story behind the landmark BCL publication, Cybernetics of Cybernetics

Photos of the Electrical Engineering Research Laboratory
—Home to BCL and other pioneering Illinois research

A day in the life of BCL: Photos by Ken Wilson
—A glimpse into the lab, 1974

Heinz von Foerster Papers, University of Illinois Archives
Biological Computer Laboratory Publications, University of Illinois Archives
Biological Computer Laboratory Contract and Conference File, University of Illinois Archives

—Guides to BCL-related holdings of the UIUC Library Archives

Who was Heinz von Foerster? Some biographical links

External Links

Heinz von Foerster Society, University of Vienna
Heinz von Foerster Page, University of Vienna
M. Broecker and A. Riegler, eds., "Human becoming—becoming human," Heinz von Foerster Festschrift
S. Umpleby, "The Alternative Futures Project at the University of Illinois"
A. Pickering, "Cybernetics and the mangle: Ashby, Beer and Pask" (PDF)
Kybernetes issues dedicated to Heinz von Foerster: 34, 1/2 (A. Riegler, ed.) and 34, 3/4 (M. Broecker, ed.)
H. von Foerster and M. Broecker, Teil der Welt: Fraktale einer Ethik - ein Drama in drei Akten (Carl-Auer, 2002)
Cybernetics & Human Knowing vol. 10, nos. 3-4, special double issue dedicated to von Foerster
Arun Chandra's readings for Inventing Systems, Spring 2006, Evergreen State
Spineless Books: read, write, perform, listen
The Learning Project at Tenger Research
The W. Ross Ashby Digital Archive


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