Courting The Ultimate Muse

Expressing Purpose in Models, Mind and Media

  • Paul Pangaro, PhD
  • President, PANGARO Incorporated
  • Wednesday, May 1
  • 4:30–6:00 liM
  • MIT MEDIA Lab 20 Ames Street—Room E15–305
  • Cambridge, MA


The speaker will endeavor to convey his views on this subject by using examples from specific consulting projects. Issues include:

  • the need for describability of purpose in any activity coordinated across individuals, whether so-called participants or so-called observers
  • a duality between a medium and its capacities for describability of purpose (touch to gesture to voice to word, dance to theatre to visual arts to music, the human face to the page to the phosphorus screen)
  • the use of one tool for describing purpose, as applied to operator training in nuclear power plants, distributed software design and development, and the formulation and execution of shared goals in corporations.

The presentation will focus on practical applications rather than on philosophy or theory. Analogous issues in media design and production will be encountered. The desire for a notational system for media that incorporates purpose and observer relationships will be outlined.

Paul Pangaro (BS Humanities, MIT 1974; PhD Cybernetics, Brunel University 1988) has served on the Research Staff at the MIT Research Lab of Electronics and the MIT Architecture Machine Group. He rounded PANGARO Incorporated of Washington DC in 1981 as a vehicle for application of cybernetics to problems in software research and consulting. Clients have included Johnson Controls, Pacific Bell, Admiralty Research Establishment (UK), Symbolics Inc., and NYNEX; current consultancies are with Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation and Du Pont. SOLITON, Inc., was founded with Walter Lee in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1987 for commercialization of this work. Pangaro was Vice-Chairman of the Gordon Research Conference in Cybernetics for 1988, and was Associate Editor of “Cybernetic” Magazine, published by the American Society for Cybernetics.

© Copyright Paul Pangaro, 2013.