WHAT IS THE CYBERNETICS?
The Big Russian Encyclopaedia defines cybernetics (from greek kybernetike - a management skill, from kybernao - I correct a wheel, I operate) as a science about management, communication and information processing.
CYBERNETIC SYSTEMS AND THE INFORMATION
So-called cybernetic systems are the basic object of research in cybernetics. As examples of cybernetic systems can serve automatic regulators in the technician (for example, the autopilot or a regulator providing maintenance of constant temperature indoors), electronic computing machine (the computers), a human brain, biological populations, a human society... Cybernetic systems have the receptors (gauges) perceiving signals from an environment and transmitting them in system, and also input and output channels on which they exchange signals with an environment. Output signals of system are transferred in an environment through effectors (actuation mechanisms). As each system of signals bears in itself this or that information irrespective of, it is formed by reasonable entity or objects and processes of the lifeless nature any cybernetic system, can be considered as the information converter. Consideration of various objects of the live and lifeless nature as converters of the information or as the systems consisting of elementary converters of the information, makes essence of the so-called cybernetic approach to studying of these objects.
BRAIN AND COMPUTERS
Computers have the greatest value among difficult technical converters of the information. Computers possess property of universality. It means, that any transformations of the alphanumeric information which can be defined any final system of rules of any nature (arithmetic, grammatical, etc.) can be executed the computer after entering in it of the program made properly. The human brain is other known example of the universal information converter (though it is based on perfect other principles). Property of universality of modern computers opens possibility of simulation with their help of any other information converters, including thought processes. Such possibility puts computers in special position: from the moment of the occurrence they represent the basic hardware components, the basic device of research which the cybernetics has.
CYBERNETICS AND CONTROL
Purposeful change of behavior of cybernetic systems occurs in the presence of control The primary goal of system with control is such conversion of the information inputting in system and creation such operating influences, at which it is provided reaching specified goal of control (whenever possible the best). As example the system of automatic control of temperature of air indoors can serve: the special thermometer-gauge takes temperature of air Т, the operating system compares this temperature to the set size To and forms control action - k (T - To) on a latch regulating inflow of warm water in the batteries of a central heating. The minus sign at coefficient k means that regulation occurs in law of a negative back coupling, namely: at increases in temperature Т above the established threshold To heat inflow decreases, at its falling below a threshold - increases.
The negative back coupling is necessary for stabilization process of regulation. Stability of system means, that at a deviation from balance position (when Т = To) both in one, and in other party the system aspires to restore this balance automatically. At the elementary assumption of linear character of dependence between operating action and speed of inflow of heat in a premise work of such regulator is described by the differential equation dT/dt = - k (T - To) as which decision function services Т = To + d*exp (-kt) where d - a deviation of temperature Т from the set size Т during the initial moment of time. As the considered system is described by the linear differential equation of 1st order, it carries the name of linear system of 1st order. Linear systems of 2nd both higher orders and especially nonlinear systems possess more difficult behavior. There are systems in which the programmed control principle is combined with regulation in sense of maintenance of a preset value of this or that size. So, for example, the program device changing value of adjustable parameter can be built in the described regulator of a room temperature. Maintenance of temperature +20 C in the afternoon and its decrease to +16 C at night can be a problem of such device. Function of simple regulation outgrows here in function of tracing value program-changeable parameter. In more difficult watching systems the problem consists in maintenance (probably more exact) some fixed functional dependence between assemblage of parameters spontaneously varying and the set assemblage of adjustable parameters. For example, there is the system, continuously accompanying as a projector beam the plane maneuvering arbitrarily.
In so-called systems of optimum control a main objective is maintenance maximum (or minimum) values of some function from two groups of the parameters, named criterion of optimum control. Parameters of the first group (external conditions) vary irrespective of system, parameters of the second group are regulated, i.e. their values can vary under the influence of operating signals of system. The elementary example of optimum control is given again by a problem of regulation of temperature of room air under an additional condition of the account of changes of its humidity. The size of temperature of air, giving sensation of the greatest comfort, depends on its humidity. If humidity varies all time, and the system can operate only temperature change it is natural as the purpose of control to set the task of maintenance of temperature which would give sensation of the greatest comfort. It also will be an optimum control problem. Optimum control systems are great importance in problems of management of economy. If there is not enough of data for maintenance of satisfactory quality of system, it is possible to build the so-called adaptive regulators accumulate the missing information during work of system and using it for improvement of quality of the work.
The cybernetics uses essentially various three methods for research of systems. Two of them - the mathematical analysis and physical experiment are widely applied in other sciences. The essence of the first method consists in the description of studied object within the limits of this or that mathematical apparatus (for example, in the form of system of the equations) and the subsequent extraction of various consequences of this description by mathematical deduction (for example, by the decision of corresponding system of the equations). The essence of the second method consists in carrying out of various experiments either with object, or with its real physical model.
One of the major achievements of cybernetics is working out and wide use of a new method of the research which has received the name of computing (machine) experiment, or mathematical modeling. Its sense consists that experiments are made not with real physical model of studied object, but with its mathematical description realized in the computer. Huge speed of modern computers frequently allows to model processes in faster rate, than they occur actually.
Ancient Greek philosopher Platon was the first who has applied the term CYBERNETICS to management in a general sense. However real formation of CYBERNETICS as sciences has occurred much later. It has been predetermined by development of hardware components of management and information conversion. In the Middle Ages in Europe it was began to create so-called androids- the humanoid toys representing mechanical, program operated devices. The first industrial regulators of a water level in a steam copper and speed of rotation of a shaft of a steam-engine have been invented I.I. Polzunovym (Russia) and J. Watt (England) in 18th century. Crucial importance for CYBERNETICS formation had creation of electronic computers in 40th ХХ century (J. fon Neumann, etc.). Thanks to the computer there were essentially new possibilities for research and actual creation of really difficult operating systems. It was necessary to unite all material received to this time and to entitle a new science. This step has been made by the American mathematician Norbertom Wiener who has published well-known book "Cybernetics" in 1948.
Wiener has defined CYBERNETICS as "a science about management and communication in an animal, the car and a society". Prompt development of computer technology has generated the big interest to cybernetics in 60-70е years and its rapid development all over the world. In 80-90е years the term CYBERNETICS has been partially superseded by the term "Computer science" concerning first of all to computers and processing of the information. However last years CYBERNETICS became again popular in view of development of the Internet (cyberspace) and robotics (a cyborg - a cybernetic organism - the device with high degree of physical and intellectual interaction of the person and automatics hardware components). Cyborgs as well as robots-manipulators, find more and more wide application at control of objects in conditions inaccessible or dangerous to human life.
CYBERNETICS AT SCHOOL
At school level the cybernetics is understood, according to its methods, as a science which is on a joint mathematicians, physics and computer science. Thus the basic concepts of cybernetics are included into the school standard at the rate "Computer science".
Accordingly, the Olympiads on cybernetics will be organised as competition under the decision of the tasks demanding knowledge and skills in listed subjects of a school course.