Jay W. Forrester, an electrical engineer whose insights into both computing and organizations more than 60 years ago gave rise to a field of computer modeling that examines the behavior of things as specific as a corporation and as broad as global growth, died on Wednesday at his home in Concord, Mass. He was 98.
The cause was complications of prostate cancer, his son Nathan said.
Professor Forrester, who grew up on a Nebraska cattle ranch, was working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1950s when he developed the field of system dynamics modeling to help corporations understand the long-term impact of management policies.
System dynamics, he once wrote, “uses computer simulation to take the knowledge we already have about details in the world around us and to show why our social and physical systems behave the way they do.”
It is now included in many business school curriculums, and simulation modeling has been adopted by other disciplines.Jay W.