“Jens Glad Balchen: A Norwegian Pioneer in Engineering Cybernetics”

Authors: Morten Breivik and Gunnar Sand,
Affiliation: NTNU, Centre for Ships and Ocean Structures and University Centre in Svalbard
Reference: 2009, Vol 30, No 3, pp. 101-125.

Keywords: Jens Glad Balchen, Servo Engineering, Automatic Control, Engineering Cybernetics, IFAC, NFA, DIANA, Ship Automation, DP, Cyberfish, Lobster Farming, Golden Feedback Loop

Abstract: This paper tells the story of Jens Glad Balchen (1926-2009), a Norwegian research scientist and engineer who is widely regarded as the father of Engineering Cybernetics in Norway. In 1954, he founded what would later become the Department of Automatic Control at the Norwegian Institute of Technology in Trondheim. This name was changed to the Department of Engineering Cybernetics in 1972 to reflect the broader efforts being made, not only within the purely technical disciplines, but also within biology, oceanography and medicine. Balchen established an advanced research community in cybernetics in postwar Norway, whose applications span everything from the process industry and positioning of ships to control of fish and lobster farming. He was a chief among the tribe of Norwegian cybernetics engineers and made a strong impact on his colleagues worldwide. He planted the seeds of a whole generation of Norwegian industrial companies through his efforts of seeking applications for every scientific breakthrough. His strength and his wisdom in combination with his remarkable stubbornness gave extraordinary results.

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  title={{Jens Glad Balchen: A Norwegian Pioneer in Engineering Cybernetics}},
  author={Breivik, Morten and Sand, Gunnar},
  journal={Modeling, Identification and Control},
  publisher={Norwegian Society of Automatic Control}