Active Regulation is Volume 3 in the General Systems Thinking series that begins with the world-wide best-selling, An Introduction to General Systems Thinking. (also available in ebook formats) That first series volume focused on the question,"Why do we see what we see?" The second and third books tackle the next question, namely "Why do things stay the same?"
Most people take for granted the stability they see in the world, but for systems thinkers, stability is one of the most fundamental properties, and puzzles, about the systems they struggle to understand and create. Indeed, it's such a fundamental property that it forms the topic of both this volume and its predecessor, Passive Regulation (Volume 2 in the series).
Originally part of the book, On the Design of Stable Systems, in its first, hardcover incarnation, Active Regulation does not just focus on computer systems, but systems of all kinds—human, natural, and technological.
In a highly readable, original presentation the Weinbergs here explore the subtle art and science of regulating systems, projects, and people in the most efficient and logical manner possible. The authors draw on their respective backgrounds in technology and social science to offer fresh insights and translate them into a language that anyone can understand.
In the course of this presentation, and with the help of dozens of figures, the Weinbergs introduce a host of laws and theorems derived from the best thinking of systems thinkers over the past century. For the most part, the regulation schemes examined in this volume are based on error-controlled regulation—in many ways the most effective of all regulation strategies.
The Search for Regulation
The Homeostatic Heuristics
Other Regulatory Heuristics
Types of Regulatory Mechanisms
Regulation and Environment
When the Model Fails
Making Regulation Mysterious
Overly Simple Views of Regulation
Blindness and Reversed Vision
The book also contains an extensive bibliography and an appendix explaining some useful mathematical notation.
In addition to being a reference book for professional and lay people alike, Active Regulation is suitable as an undergraduate text in the humanities, social, natural, and engineering sciences. It is unique in its approach, highly readable, and offers practical ways of solving problems.