系統動力學（System Dynamics，另譯為系統動態學）創始人傑．福瑞斯特（Jay W. Forrester）教授於二○一六年十一月十六日逝世，享年九十八歲。
系統思考對於人類的貢獻，在於協助人們理解複雜系統的運作方式，進而面對複雜的課題與劇變的環境時，能夠做出比較正確的決策。此外，從系統思考延伸的啤酒遊戲（the Beer Game） 的桌遊，透過小組成員扮演工廠生產、零售商下單、配銷商、大盤商的庫存管理，了解系統動力學和系統思考如何應用在進出貨管理和供應鏈管理。
福瑞斯特在 MIT 有二位得力助手，一是唐內拉‧梅多斯（Donella H. Meadows，1941年3月13日～2001年2月20日，《系統思考》作者），以及丹尼斯‧梅多斯（Dennis L. Meadows，也就是Donella H. Meadows的另一半）。
一九六八年，唐內拉‧梅多斯加入福瑞斯特教授的研究室。同年，來自世界各國的幾十位科學家、教育家及經濟學家成立羅馬俱樂部（The Club of Rome），反思西方流行的高成長理論，延續瑞秋‧卡森 （Reachel Carson）在一九六二年環保經典《寂靜的春天》（Silent Spring）中，提出世人應當重視地球永續議題。一九七Ｏ年，福瑞斯特在羅馬俱樂部的會議中表示能夠提出預測未來經濟成長的模型，之後由他的助理丹尼斯‧梅多斯（Dennis L. Meadows）領導專案進行。經過21個月的努力之後，17位年輕的科學家組成的專案小組向羅馬俱樂部提交名為〈成長的極限〉的報告。一九七二年，這份報告集結成書出版《成長的極限》（The Limits to Growth，唐內拉．梅多斯、丹尼斯‧梅多斯和Jorgen Randers合著），本書引導人們以永續發展思維，進一步思考合理且持久的平衡發展。
福瑞斯特於一九三九年取得內布拉斯加大學（University of Nebraska）電機系學士學位，一九四五年取得 MIT 電機碩士學位。他對於世界的貢獻，包括發明隨機存取憶體（random-access magnetic-core memory），並曾擔任「旋風計畫」（Project Whirlwind ）負責人，這是 MIT 以當時先進的實時處理概念發展的大型計算機系統，不僅受到美國空軍SAGE防空系統青睞，也影響一九六○年代的商用電腦，因此是世人尊崇他是「電腦發展的先驅者」。
圖片來源：System Dynamics Society （https://www.facebook.com/systemdynamics）
【紀念Jay W. Forrester 教授網站】http://www.systemdynamics.org/jwf/
New York Times : Jay W. Forrester Dies at 98; a Pioneer in Computer Models
MIT Technoloty Review : The Many Careers of Jay Forrester
The Boston Globe Jay W. Forrester, of Concord, computer pioneer; at 98
啤酒遊戲 : The Beer Game
It is with great sadness that the System Dynamics Society announces that Jay W. Forrester, Professor of Management Emeritus at MIT, has died at the age of 98 on November 16, 2016.
Jay founded what became the field of System Dynamics in 1956 and has had a profound and lasting influence on it throughout its 60-year history. A lifelong innovator, Jay was a pioneer in digital computing and helped create the computer age in which we all live today. Trained in electrical engineering, Jay came to MIT in 1939, where he worked on feedback control servomechanisms during World War II. After the war, Jay directed the MIT Digital Computer Laboratory, where he led the design and construction of Whirlwind I, one of the world’s first high-speed digital computers. He invented and holds the patent for magnetic core memory, the dominant form of random access memory (RAM) for decades (even travelling to the moon with the Apollo astronauts), until it was eventually replaced by semiconductors. Whirlwind became the basis for many innovations, from numerically controlled machine tools to SAGE, the first integrated continental air defense system.
Invited to join the faculty of the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1956, Jay created the field of System Dynamics to apply engineering concepts of feedback systems and digital simulation to understand what he famously called “the counterintuitive behavior of social systems.” His groundbreaking 1961 book, Industrial Dynamics, remains a clear and relevant statement of philosophy and methodology in the field. His later books and his numerous articles broke new ground in our understanding of complex human systems and policy problems. Jay officially retired in 1989, but continued his work unabated, focusing on promoting the use of System Dynamics in K-12 education.
John Morecroft (London Business School) wrote “My life was changed by Jay Forrester. His influence came in two distinct ways, from personal encounters and from the research environment he created as founder and leader of the System Dynamics Group at MIT-Sloan. I spent a decade at MIT, first as a doctoral student and later as a member of faculty at Sloan. So there is much to remember.”
George Richardson, Professor Emeritus at the University at Albany, said “Jay opened a path that gave many of us voices we did not know we had. What a life of towering achievements, to have been crucial to the development of computing in its infancy, and then to show us how to use its power to help us make progress together on seemingly impossible problems. I am profoundly grateful for his presence and influence in my life. ”
Professor John Sterman, the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at MIT and Director of the MIT System Dynamics Group said “Like so many others, I was fortunate to be able to work with and learn from Jay. He constantly challenged us to think deeply, speak plainly, and work on issues that matter, not only to build understanding, but to act. And he always led by example.”
Roberta Spencer, Executive Director of the System Dynamics Society, remembers, “During a conversation Jay said to me ‘figure out a way to have courage.’ Jay said this to everyone—I took it to heart and it changed my life.”
Jay was married for sixty-four years to Susan (Swett) Forrester, who died in 2010. Survivors include one daughter, Judith Forrester of Concord, Massachusetts; two sons, Nathan B. Forrester of Boca Grande, Florida, and Ned C. Forrester of Falmouth, Massachusetts; four grandchildren, Matthew S. Forrester of Arcadia, CA, Julia D. Forrester of Bois, ID, Neil T. Forrester of Torrance, CA, and Katherine J. Forrester of Chicago, IL as well as two great grandchildren Everett Chen Forrester and Faraday Chen Forrester, both of Arcadia, CA.
Please visit the webpage dedicated to Jay and write about how Jay touched your life. A full obituary and funeral arrangement details will be available soon.