To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the field of System Dynamics, we are asking your help in creating an “SD Infographic” to be displayed at this year’s conference. The SD Infographic will highlight the most memorable System Dynamics-related event(s) in each year, starting in 1957.

Leading up to the conference, we ask you to share any memory, photo, or fact (with the date) that might be included in the SD Infographic. Progress on the SD Infographic will be posted on social media, please participate and follow the progress! Please join us on our SD Infographics LinkedIn Showcase. You can share your items either on our Facebook page or via email ( The final product will be printed on a large banner and be available at the 35th International System Dynamics Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts this year.

1956 – 1959

1956 - Jay Joined the Sloan Faculty

Jay W. Forrester joined the Sloan faculty in 1956. A 1956 memo to the faculty research seminar titled “Dynamic models of economic systems and industrial organizations” laid out his initial thinking, and became the first in a series of D-Memos (dynamic modeling memos).

1956 - First D-Memo

A 1956 memo to the faculty research seminar titled “Dynamic models of economic systems and industrial organizations” laid out Jay W. Forrester's initial thinking, and became the first in a series of D-Memos (dynamic modeling memos).

1957 - Refrigerator/Beer Game

Forrester wanted an accessible way to explain his management insights to students. So he devised the Refrigerator Game, soon re-dubbed the Beer Game. In this table game, teams mimic the beer industry’s supply chain, trying to meet consumer demand while minimizing costly inventory

1957 - First System Dynamics Paper

Historically, the first paper leading to the field of System Dynamics was: Jay W. Forrester, 1957, "Systems Technology and Industrial Dynamics," pp. 10-21, in: Juan Cameron, ed., Adventure in Thought and Action -- Fifth Anniversary of the School of Industrial Management, MIT, Cambridge, MA: MIT Office of Publications.

1958 - SIMPLE

Richard Bennett created the first system dynamics computer modeling language called SIMPLE (Simulation of Industrial Management Problems with Lots of Equations) in the spring of 1958

1959 - DYNAMO

In 1959, Alexander Pugh wrote a D-memo titled "DYNAMO, an IBM Program for Generating Dynamic Models". In this document, he described how key-punched equations must be formulated.

1960 – 1969


1961 - Industrial Dynamics

Jay recruited talented MIT undergraduates as research assistants—Willard Fey, Jack Pugh, Edward Roberts and others—and spent the next years developing applications and laying out a vision of the contribution that they could make to management (Forrester 1959, 1960). These ideas led to his classic book, Industrial Dynamics.

1961 - The First Edition of DYNAMO

1962 - World’s First Ph.D. Dissertation in System Dynamics

Ed Roberts carried on a research program related to R and D management which produced a doctoral dissertation completed in 1962. Professor Frank Fisher, a distinguished econometrician, was his dissertation chair.

1963 - Pugh-Roberts Associates

Pugh-Roberts Associates founded by Alexander (Jack) L. Pugh III and Edward B. Roberts. Jack and Ed where 2 of the 3 first research students of Jay Forrester

1964 - The Dynamics of Research and Development

Ed Robert's dissertation was soon published in 1964 and led almost by accident to the large series of project models that supported Pugh-Roberts Associates for years.



1967 - First System Dynamics Newsletter

The System Dynamics Newsletter, which was first called the Industrial Dynamics Newsletter, appears to have started before 1968 from reference to it in D-1169 of October 1968. The Newsletter was discontinued when the System Dynamics Review and other publications made it unnecessary.

1968 - Principles of Systems

Author: Jay W. Forrester

1969 - Urban Dynamics

Authors: Jay W. Forrester; Foreword: John F. Collins - Urban Dynamics was a study of the processes underlying the development, stagnation, decline, and recovery of cities.

1970 – 1979

1970 - The Rise of WORLD1 Model

In 1970 Forrester was invited to travel to Bern to attend a meeting of the Club of Rome. On July 1, during the Paris/Boston leg of his return air journey, Forrester spent about an hour sketching the stock/flow diagram of WORLD1 Model.

Solaize (Lyon) Conference

The 1977 conference in Soliaze was organized by Michel Karsky. The first non-French Participants at this conference were Aracil (Spain), and De Bruyn (Belgium).

1970- Dynamo User’s Manual

Dynamo User’s Manual Originally published in 1961 Author: Alexander L. Pugh III

1971 - World Dynamics

Author: Jay W. Forrester - Jay developed a model capturing feedbacks among population, natural resources, pollution, agricultural and industrial production, capital investment, and quality of life. The resulting book, World Dynamics (Forrester 1971a), posed sharp questions about the relationship between growth and quality of life, generating heated discussion in popular and scholarly forums worldwide.

1972 - The Limits to Growth

In response to the notoriety of World Dynamics, the Club of Rome offered to fund an extended study of the predicament of mankind via System Dynamics. Jay suggested that one of his former Ph.D. students, Dennis Meadows, conduct the study. The model that was created by Meadows and his associates was called WORLD3 and published in a book titled The Limits to Growth.

1972 - Jay Receives the IEEE Medal of Honor

Jay Forrester created coincident-current magnetic core memory in 1949 for fast and reliable data storage within Whirlwind. For its invention, in 1972 the (US) IEEE awarded him its Medal of Honor and in 1979 he was made a member of the (US) National Inventors' Hall of Fame.

1973 - Toward Global Equilibrium: Collected Papers

Edited by Dennis L. Meadows and Donella H. Meadows

1974 - Resource Policy Group

In 1974 the Resource Policy Group was established in Oslo, Norway, as one of the first centers of System Dynamics research outside the US.

1974 - Readings in Urban Dynamics

Edited by Nathaniel J. Mass

1975 - Dynamica

Dynamica had been founded by Geoff Coyle at Bradford University in 1975 and had served continuously since then as the sole journal devoted to publishing system dynamics scholarship.

1976 - SD Conference in Geilo, Norway

The 1976 International Conference on System Dynamics was held in Geilo, Norway, August 8 – 15, 1976.

1977 - Alternatives to Growth I: A Search for Sustainable Futures

Edited by Dennis L. Meadows

1978 - Managerial Applications of System Dynamics

Edited by Edward B. Roberts

1979 - Edelman Prize

Ken Cooper wins the ORSA/TIMS Edelman Prize for "A Case Settled, A Framework Built". It was the first SD application recognized by Franz Edelman Award for best management science in the world.

1980 – 1989

1980 - Corporate Planning and Policy Design: A System Dynamics Approach

Jim Lyneis writes "Corporate Planning and Policy Design: A System Dynamics Approach"

1981 - Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling with DYNAMO

George P. Richardson and Alexander L. Pugh III write "Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling with DYNAMO"

1982 - Groping in the Dark

Authors: Donella Meadows, John Richardson, Gerhart Bruckmann

1983 - System Dynamics Society

The System Dynamics Society was formed with Forrester as its first president.


1985 - System Dynamics Review

SDR was born in 1985 and and Eric Wolstenholme became inaugural executive editor. The first publication of the Review, Volume I, issues 1 & 2, printed and mailed to something like 587 system dynamicists around the world by December of 1985.

1986 - Management at MIT

Thomas Watson Jr. endowed the Jay W. Forrester Chair in Management at MIT. It is currently held by John Sterman.

1987 - James R. Killian Faculty Achievement Award

Jay Forrester received the James R. Killian Faculty Achievement Award, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

1988 - SDS Executive Director

Starting on January 1, 1988 the System Dynamics Society has, for the first time, an Executive Director. Julia Spear Pugh graciously accepted the position without remuneration. (Julia Pugh with Marg Rahn and Pål Davidsen)

1989 - National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Jay received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for computer science in 1989.

1990 – 1999

1990 - First Chapters

China Chapter and Japan Chapter started to work.

1991 - Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory

Author: George P. Richardson

1992 - Beyond the Limits

Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse Envisioning a Sustainable Future. Author: Donella H. Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis L. Meadows




1996 - Italian Chapter

The formal request for Italian Chapter was posted on October 2, 1995, by Habib Sedehi (President and Italian representative of the grouping). The SDS approved the proposal at the annual Policy Council meeting in February 1996.

1997 - Roberta Spencer

Roberta Spencer started to work in Jan 1, 1997 as Executive Director for the System Dynamics Society. The SDS moved to Albany in the same year. (In the Picture: Roberta Spencer and Jack Pugh)

1998 - First Full Undergraduate Degree

SDS celebrated this year the founding of the first full undergraduate degree in System Dynamics, at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

1999 - Modeling the Environment

Modeling the Environment: An Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling of Environmental System

2000 – 2009

2000 - Business Dynamics

Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World with CD-ROM 2000 Author John Sterman

2001 - Fish Banks

The Fish Banks Ltd. game was developed by Professor Dennis Meadows, co-author of “Limits to Growth.

2002 - First SIG

Education SIG started to work as the first Special Interest Group within the System Dynamics Society

2003 - The Last D-Memo

The last D-memo on the DVD disk is Jay's D-4886-1 of July 21, 2003, “Economic Theory for the New Millennium” presented at the 2003 International System Dynamics Conference.

2004 - Limits to Growth: the 30-Year Update

Authors: Donella H. Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis L. Meadows

2005 -1000 Membership Milestone Reached!

System Dynamics Society hit 1000 members.

2006 - Operational Research Hall of Fame

Jay W. Forrester was inducted into the International Federation of OR Societies' Operational Research Hall of Fame.

2007 - 50th Anniversary

The first System Dynamics Application Award and also the first Barry Richmond Scholarship Award were given at the 2007 ISDC conference. (Margarita Cruz, Kathy Richmond and Joanne Egner)

2008 - Lupina Award

The first Lupina Award was given to Hyunjung Kim, Jennifer Headley, Holly Rockweiler, Aqeela Jogee

2009 - Outstanding Service Award

The first Outstanding Service Award was given to Andrew Ford.

2010 – 2017

2010 - European Master Degree in System Dynamics

In August 2010, the European Master in System Dynamics was officially opened in Bergen, Norway.

2011 - Edelman Award Competition

Ken Cooper, Greg Lee, and colleagues were recognized by INFORMS as finalists in the 2011 Edelman Award competition for their application of system dynamics to improve project management at Fluor Corporation.

2012 - Film Documentary on The Limits to Growth

Documentary filmmaker Enrico Cerasuolo and his team started to make a documentary about the story of The Limits to Growth, from its birth until its deep relevance today.

2013 -

2014 - First Asia Pacific Conference

First Asia Pacific Conference in Tokyo

2015 - Iran Chapter

2016 - Jay W. Forrester (1918 – 2016)

On November 16, 2016, Jay W. Forrester, the founder of System Dynamics, died at the age of 98.–-The-60th-Anniversary.jpg

2017 – The 60th Anniversary

2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the field of System Dynamics. It is thus fitting that the 60th anniversary conference was held in Cambridge, next to the MIT campus where Jay Forrester developed the field.