William Ross Ashby (1903-1972) was a British pioneer in the fields of cybernetics and systems theory. He is best known for the law of requisite variety, the principle of self-organization, intelligence amplification, the good regulator theorem, building the automatically stabilizing Homeostat, and his books Design for a Brain (1952) and An Introduction to Cybernetics (1956).
In 2003, Ross's family gave his journals, papers, and correspondence to the British Library, London. Then, in March 2004, on the last day of the W. Ross Ashby Centenary Conference, they announced the intention to make his journal available on the Internet. Four years later, this website fulfilled that promise, making this previously unpublished work available on-line.
The biography describes Ross's life in more detail than has previously been available in the public domain, and includes many photographs from the family's private albums. Various other information and resources can be accessed via the navigation frame on the left.
January 2021: The previously unpublished 196 page booklet "The Origin of Adaptation", written in 1941, is available as a PDF.
December 2020: Mick Ashby's research into the cybernetics of ethical systems, which builds on the good regulator theorem and the law of requisite variety, was published in the Systems journal as a concept paper, "Ethical Regulators and Super-Ethical Systems".
October 2020: The mirror copy that was hosted on ashby.de since March 2018 is no longer available.
March 2018: A new page was added to make it easy to access the contents of Mechanisms of Intelligence: Ashby's Writings on Cybernetics (1981) by Roger Conant.