Project Cybersyn

Project Cybersyn was a Chilean project from 1971-1973 during the presidency of Salvador Allende aimed at constructing a distributed decision support system to aid in the national economy. The project consisted of four modules: an economic simulator, custom software to check factory performance, an operations room, and a national network of telex machines that were linked to one mainframe computer. [2]

Project Cybersyn Was based one viable system model theory and a neural network approach to design organizational, and featured innovative technology for its time: it included a network of telex machine ( Cybernet ) in state-run enterprises That Would transmitted and Receive information with the government In Santiago . Information from the field Would Be fed into statistical modeling software ( Cyberstride ) That Would Monitor output indicators (Such As raw material supplies or high rates of worker absenteeism) in real time, and alert the workers in the first box, and in abnormal situations aussi The central government, if these parameters fell outside acceptable ranges. The information could also be input into economic simulation software ( CHECO , for CHilean ECOnomic simulator). Finally, a sophisticated operations room ( Opsroom ) would provide a space where managers could view the economic data, formulate responses to emergencies, and transmitting advice and instructions to companies and factories in alarm situations by using the telex network.

The main architect of the system was British operations research scientist Stafford Beer , and the system embodied his notions of organizational cybernetics in industrial management. One of its main objectives was to devolve the decision-making power within the enterprises to their workforce in order to develop self-regulation of factories.


The project’s name in English (Cybersyn) is a portmanteau of the words “cybernetics” and “synergy”. Since the name is not euphonic in Spanish, en ce que language le projet Was called Expired Synco , both, an initialism for the Spanish Information System and COntrol , “system of information and control”, and a pun on the Spanish cinco , the number five, Being a viable system model .


Stafford Beer was a consultant in management cybernetics . Chilean socialism of maintaining Chile’s democratic system and the autonomy of workers instead of imposing a Sovietsystem of top-down command and control.

In July 1971, Fernando Flores , a high-level employee of the Chilean Production Development Corporation ( CORFO ) contacted Beer for advice on incorporating Beer’s theories into the newly nationalized sector of Chile’s economy. Beer saw this as a unique opportunity to implement his ideas on a national scale. Project Cybersyn. Project Cybersyn. Project Cybersyn. He traveled to Chile often to collaborate with local implementors and used his personal contacts to secure from British technical experts.

The system was most useful in October 1972, when about 40,000 striking truck drivers blocked the access streets that converged towards Santiago . According to Gustavo Silva (executive secretary of energy in CORFO), using the system of telex machines, the government was able to guarantee the transport of food into the city with only about 200 trucks driven by strike-breakers , recouping the shortages caused by 40,000 striking Truck drivers. [3]

After the military coup on September 11, 1973, Cybersyn was abandoned and the operations room was destroyed.


There were 500 unused telex machines bought by the previous government. Each was put into one factory. In the control center in Santiago, each day data coming from each factory (several numbers, such as raw material input, production output and number of absentees) were put into a computer, which made short-term predictions and necessary adjustments. There were four levels of control (firm, branch, sector, total), with algedonic feedback . If one level of control did not remedy a problem in a certain interval, the higher level was notified. The room was clean and comfortable.

The software for Cybersyn was called Cyberstride , and used Bayesian filtering and Bayesian control . It was written by Chilean engineers in consultation with a team of 12 British programmers. [4]

The futuristic operations room was designed by a team led by the designer Gui Bonsiepe . It was furnished with seven swivel chairs (considered the best for creativity) with buttons, which were designed to control several large screens that could project the data, and other panels with status information. -prepared graphs. This consisted of slides. [5]

The Brain of the Firm and Platform for Change . The present book includes proposals for social innovations, as well as representatives of various stakeholder groups in the control center.


The Ops room used Tulip chairs similar to those used in the American science fiction TV Star Trek program , according to the designers, the style was not influenced by science fiction movies. [6]

References in popular culture

Chilean science fiction author Jorge Baradit published in Spanish-language science fiction novel Synco in 2008. It is an alternate history dystopia set in a 1979 where Allende’s government was not overthrown and Chile became a technocratic totalitarian state in which the Cybersyn system was used to control All aspects of Chilean life.

See also

  • Business and economics portal
  • Chile portal
  • Information technology portal
  • Socialism portal
  • Systems science portal
  • Alexander Kharkevich  ( RU ) , head of the Department of Technical Physics in Kiev with a similar concept in 1962. [7] [8]
  • Ogas
  • Chilean coup of 1973
  • Economic calculation debate
  • Enterprise resource planning
  • Fernando Flores
  • History of Chile
  • Internet
  • Material balance planning
  • Planned economy
  • Socialist economy
  • Viable system model


  1. Jump up^ Cybersyn Chile – Opsroom
  2. Jump up^ “IU professor analyzes Chile’s ‘Project Cybersyn ‘ ” . UI News Room . Retrieved 27 May 2013 .
  3. Jump up^ Eden Medina (2006). “Designing Freedom, Regulating a Nation: Socialist Cybernetics in Allende’s Chile”. J. Lat. Bitter. Stud . Cambridge University Press (38): 571-606. Doi : 10.1017 / S0022216X06001179 .
  4. Jump up^ Project Cybersyn |
  5. Jump up^ Medina, Eden. “Interview Eden Medina over Project Cybersyn” . VPRO Tegenlicht . Retrieved 14 December 2015 .
  6. Jump up^ Eden Medina (2011). Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile, 1st edn. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-01649-0. Section 4, p. 121.
  7. Jump up^
  8. Jump up^ Kharkevich, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich (1973). Theory of information. The identification of the images. Selected works in three volumes. Volume 3 . Information and technology: Moscow: Publishing House “Nauka”, 1973. – Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Institute of information transmission problems. pp. 495-508.

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