Cybernetics • Requisite Variety • Selection 12

Ashby now invites us to consider a series of games, beginning as follows.

Requisite Variety

11/3.   Play and outcome.  Let us therefore forget all about regulation and simply suppose that we are watching two players, R and D, who are engaged in a game.  We shall follow the fortunes of R, who is attempting to score an a.  The rules are as follows.  They have before them Table 11/3/1, which can be seen by both:

Ashby Cybernetics Table 11.3.1

D must play first, by selecting a number, and thus a particular row.  R, knowing this number, then selects a Greek letter, and thus a particular column.  The italic letter specified by the intersection of the row and column is the outcome.  If it is an a, R wins;  if not, R loses.

I’ll pause the play here and give readers a chance to contemplate strategies.


  • Ashby, W.R. (1956), An Introduction to Cybernetics, Chapman and Hall, London, UK.  Republished by Methuen and Company, London, UK, 1964.  Online.

cc: CyberneticsOntolog ForumStructural ModelingSystems Science

This entry was posted in Adaptive Systems, Ashby, C.S. Peirce, Communication, Control, Cybernetics, Evolution, Information, Inquiry Driven Systems, Learning, Logic, Mathematics, Peirce, Purpose, Regulation, Survival, Truth Theory, W. Ross Ashby and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cybernetics • Requisite Variety • Selection 12

  1. Pingback: Survey of Cybernetics • 1 | Inquiry Into Inquiry

  2. Pingback: Survey of Cybernetics • 2 | Inquiry Into Inquiry

  3. Pingback: Survey of Cybernetics • 3 | Inquiry Into Inquiry

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