Message from the President

This in an invigorating time for the engineering of complex and human–machine systems, with increasing relevance of emerging cybernetics principles. As we begin the new year, I enthusiastically bid you greetings as the new president of the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society (SMCS). For me, it is the beginning of a great opportunity to lead the SMCS to further enhance its benefits to members and the value of what the Society offers.

Research and academic communities, along with industry, are studying and addressing problems for which synergies among our three pillars of technical focus—systems science and engineering, human–machine, and cybernetics—will offer robust solutions. This is true for individual complex systems and enterprises alike. The engineering problems before us present the SMCS with an opportunity to realize the various ways that (the union of) its three technical pillars can be most effective. Whether it is self-driving vehicles with associated intelligent transportation systems, brain–machine interface systems, big-data analytics and machine learning, intelligent power, infrastructure, decision support systems, or model-based and other methodologies (for engineering such systems), the SMCS is where it all comes together.

Our vision includes being recognized as the world’s leading society for the advancement of theory and application in our three major technical areas. In that spirit, the SMCS will define the transdisciplinary manner in which current and future technology can be integrated to engineer new and improved systems. As we work to realize our vision, we must be mindful of our mission. In all that we do within and for the SMCS, we pursue our mission to serve the interests of our members and the community at large by promoting the theory, practice, and interdisciplinary aspects of systems science and engineering, human–machine systems, and cybernetics. We remain busy accomplishing this through our conferences, publications, and other activities that contribute to members’ professional needs.

During the next two years, as I work with our Society’s Board of Governors, I will be focusing on current works in progress while pursuing some of my own objectives including

  • clarifying our Society’s identity so that it is commonly recognized and understood by all members and increasingly more widely known by nonmembers
  • focusing on the word “and” in the Society’s name to bring attention to the increasing relevance of integrated complex systems now and in the future
  • successfully executing the SMCS long-term plan and identifying activities and outcomes of the plan where the transdisciplinary feature of SMC can be further magnified
  • encouraging technical activities and respective committees to emphasize transdisciplinary aspects that generate reference and educational products, e.g., position papers, archived presentations, tutorials, and necessary standards
  • increasing the visibility of IEEE Young Professionals and Student Member research.

Pursuing these objectives collectively will help us execute the Society’s mission. As there are multiple ways to execute our mission, we are interested in your ideas, so I invite you to collaborate with us for the benefit of the Society and its members.

In future messages in this column, I will keep you abreast of our progress and plans, and I will share my reactions to interesting events occurring throughout the broader SMC-related community. I thank all members and friends in advance for your contributions and support.

Edward Tunstel
SMC Society President