Biography of William Ross Ashby (1903-1972)

Medical neurologist and English cibernético. He/She was born in 1903, in London, and died in 1972, in the same city.

After graduating from the prestigious Sidney Sussex College of Cambridge, Ashby received the title of Doctor in medicine to pursue for more than fifteen years the scientific study of the human brain, particularly of its operation in the poor, mentally ill. After the second world war, Ashby continued this work as research director of the psychiatric hospital of Barnwood House in Gloucester (England), stage in which established a series of analogies between the structure of the human brain and the machines, especially in relation to the mechanisms of feedback (feedback). In his first work, published in 1952 with the title design for a Brain (project for a brain), Ashby described his famous homeostasis, electronic device self-regulated by feedback, which subsequently perfected. In this work also exhibited its innovative conception of an artificial brain, contributing to the consolidation of the modern Cybernetics as a science. Later, with his other main work, An Introduction to Cybernetics (introduction to Cybernetics), the year 1956, established the General principles for the creation of mechanisms of functioning analogous to the human brain, which would later help to intelligence. At the end of the year 1960, Ashby went to United States for teaching and research in the section of electrical of the University of Illinois, at Urbana, until his return to London, where he/she died in 1972.

William Ross Ashby wrote many papers in scientific journals and collective volumes of neurophysiology of the highest level and world-wide prestige, in addition to a series of fundamental works in the field of Cybernetics, from which we can highlight Automatic Studies, in 1956 (studies automata) and Introduction: Some Current Issues, in 1963 (introduction: some studies on electricity).

Carlos García Herraiz