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The French Society of Computer Scientists: AFCET

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129664D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 11 page(s) / 41K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

COLETTE HOFFSAES: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

AFCET, (Association Francaise pour la Cybernetique Economique et Technique), is the French learned society that represents France in IFIP. Its novelty lies in the fact that it synthesizes several components in the name of cybernetics. I have tried to reconstruct its history to explain not only the meaning of its acronym, but also why French computer scientists do not have an association for ";computer science"; as such.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1990 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

The French Society of Computer Scientists: AFCET

COLETTE HOFFSAES

This article is based on an analysis of the AFCET archives as well as on the results and discussions within an AFCET working group entitled "History and Epistemology of Computer Science."

Author's address: Colette Hoffsaes, Department Informatique, 143 avenue de Versailles, 75016 Paris, France.

The French Learned Society for Computer Scientists, AFCET (Association Frangaise pour la Cybernetique Economique et Technique) originated in 1968 with the merger of four associations for automatic control, operational research. information processing, and instrumentation and control, all of which were considered to be components of the term "cybernetics." The novelty of this process explains how difficult it was for computer science to be recognized in the manner that computer scientists desired, both in AFCET and in the university. Discussion regarding cybernetics, which has continued in the background within AFCET, has emerged again today to respond to questions posed by artificial intelligence in its most advanced developments.

Categories and Subject Descriptions: K.2. [Computing Milieux]: History of computing -- people. K 72. [Computing Milieux]: The Computing Profession -- organizations. General Terms: Economics, Management Additional Terms: AFIC, AFIRO, AFRA, AFCAL, AFCAL TI, SoFRO, AFCET.

Introduction

AFCET, (Association Francaise pour la Cybernetique Economique et Technique), is the French learned society that represents France in IFIP. Its novelty lies in the fact that it synthesizes several components in the name of cybernetics. I have tried to reconstruct its history to explain not only the meaning of its acronym, but also why French computer scientists do not have an association for "computer science" as such.

The Constituent Societies

AFCET was created in 1968 by the merger of three associations, AFIC, AFIRO, and AFRA. AFIRO itself was the result of a merger of the AFCALTI and the SoFRO. Figure 1 gives the major landmarks of this development.

The parallels between the constituent societies are remarkable. Something significant must have happened in France in the period 1956- 1957 for (almost) all these contemporary societies to emerge at the same time with similar projects linked to sciences, or techniques that were, at the time, full of promise. This was the period (1956) when the IBM 650 arrived in France and Bull introduced its magnetic drum system.

IEEE Computer Society, Jun 30, 1990 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 12 Number 3, Pages 167-176

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The French Society of Computer Scientists: AFCET

These societies were all created under the "1901 Law," which offered a large degree of flexibility to group activities provided that their decisions were made sufficie...