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This proposal has been submitted for review.
To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? No
Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes
Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes
Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes
Was it of at least regional importance? Yes
Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes
Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes
Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes
Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes
Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:
Title of the proposed milestone:
URUCIB – Real-time Information for the Presidency of the Republic - 1988
Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:
URUguay CIBernético was a pioneering Executive Information System designed and implemented for the Presidency of Uruguay, later exported to other countries. The system created a data network and incorporated advanced cybernetic modeling and statistical techniques to detect incipient instabilities in the country’s situation. It had an intuitive graphical human interface allowing decision making based on the entire information presented daily at the Management Center in the President´s office.
In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?
IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:
IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):
Unit: Uruguay Section
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public
IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:
Unit: Uruguay Section
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public
IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):
IEEE Section: Uruguay Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Section chair name masked to public
Proposer name: Proposer's name masked to public
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public
Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.
Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):
ASSE: Avda. Dr. Luis A. de Herrrera 3626, Montevideo, Uruguay coordinates 34°52'11.7"S 56°09'57.6"W A second plaque will be placed at the present site of the Presidency, Plaza Independencia 710 .-
Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.
Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. It was the site of the Presidency; now is the Administration of the Public Health System, ASSE. A second plaque will be placed at the new building of the Presidency.
Are the original buildings extant?
Details of the plaque mounting:
How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?
Who is the present owner of the site(s)?
Government of Uruguay
What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?
Starting from scratch, an Executive Information System for the office of the President of the Republic of Uruguay was designed, built, and put into service resorting to cybernetics’ cutting edge principles. The concept of having on-line information available for decision making was truly revolutionary. There had only been a frustrated previous case in Chile, twelve years before.
In 1985 there was neither Internet nor mobile phones -it was prior to the computer and information revolution. In Uruguay, power, water, oil and telecommunications are provided by state companies, and report to the president. Most information and key indicators of government units were only available on delayed yearly reports. In the private sector the situation was similar - or worse. After years of dictatorship, the Executive Branch needed daily, almost real-time information of key variables, to evaluate the situation of the country, provide early-detection of possible problems, and make well informed, correct decisions.
URUCIB’s visionary aim was to provide this new democratic government, with a state-of-the-art tool. Man-machine interaction would allow the government to reach the most relevant and current information of the country . The challenge was to have access to public and private sources of information to be transmitted, processed, and filtered with statistical programs. Finally, a user-friendly presentation was created: figures and graphics appeared on computer screens set up in a Management Centre in the President’s office. These screens were operated with a remote-control which was easier to use than that of a television set. This information allowed the government to monitor the country's progress, anticipate potential problems, and simulate possible scenarios.
It seems obvious, nowadays. But back then, it was a great novelty whose theoretical and technical assumptions were absolutely incomprehensible to ordinary people, it was like something magical, out of this world. The United Nations program for development (PNUD) helped financially. The distinguished British cybernetics expert Prof. Stafford Beer was hired as an advisor; the President of the Republic, Dr. Julio María Sanguinetti gave his enthusiastic support and project leader Eng. Victor Ganón and his devoted team were instrumental in making this trailblazing design, and successfully implementing the System.
The interest aroused by URUCIB in Latin America resulted in the system being exported to the Argentine Republic and the Republic of Nicaragua, where it was used for many years. In Argentina it was installed in the Government of the Province of Buenos Aires (Governor Antonio Cafiero) and in the National President’s office (President Carlos Menem). In Nicaragua it was installed in the National President’s office (President Violeta Chamorro). In Uruguay, systems were configured for Government Agencies to be aligned with the System and it continued to be used for many years, notably by the BPS (Social Security Bank).
What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?
URUCIB had to overcome a myriad problems. To begin with, in 1985 there was no data network in Uruguay to transmit information from the different agencies to the President’s office. Therefore, a private data network -100% digital was designed and built in the country, resorting to telex network infrastructure.
Additionally, it was necessary to develop programs to process and filter the information received (circa 1200 time series), and to detect incipient instabilities. To this end, the team resorted to the work of Harrison and Steven, a Multiprocessing Dynamic Linear Growth Model . The kernel of the statistical model was enlarged with a Decision Scheme, to allow automatic change detection. Thus, there was no need to study individual probability values in the model´s application.
Finally, a Management Centre was created: a new interactive environment for group decision-making. Although Windows was not available at that time, with MS-DO the whole System had graphical representations of quantified facts, written in C language. The man-machine interface was designed bearing in mind ergonomics and that it were easy to use and learn.
Given the multi and interdisciplinary character of the project, everything was not smooth sailing. Team members had different approaches to reality, so there were disagreements at times. These were overcome, to a great extent, by means of project management procedures. The project also caused confrontation with the bureaucratic structures of the agencies that provided information to the President. Eight months before the inauguration of the system, the resistance to URUCIB peaked among top managers of state agencies. An authoritarian approach was not an option, so conversations were held where parties expressed their views, discrepancies, fears, uncertainties and doubts. Ultimately, the relationship between URUCIB and these agencies was established on a very solid, legitimate and productive basis.
What features set this work apart from similar achievements?
1.- Organizational Model Prof. Stafford Beer´s cybernetic organizational model called Viable System Model (VSM) was selected for the project. This model was a powerful tool to describe and make a diagnosis of most agencies.
2.- Evolutionary prototype This was a fundamental feature and permanent guiding principle during the life of the project. It was consciously decided to achieve goals and meet deadlines, rather than working on some desired refinements for future versions.
3.- Usage of Statistics Following a suggestion made by Prof. Beer, Harrison and Stevens´s linear growth model was used to design an early warning System. It monitors the behaviour of time series and their trends. This feature is seldom found in today’s business analytics systems. The Statistical treatment of information also provided:
- Early detection of change in times series structure
- Time series transformation.
- Automatic information storage and processing.
- Utilities for the description and analysis of time series.
4.- Some Operational components of URUCIB specially designed and built for the project were: A data communications network where agencies’ information automatically reached the President’s office in real time. A time series data base, with different time periods, and qualitative information, for a multiuser environment. A set of programs for information statistical processing in real time, generating warnings of incipient changes, called News. A new interactive environment for group decision-making called Management Centre. It was possible to visualize chronological data in graphic form together with contextual information.
5.- Project team The entire design and development of URUCIB was made by a team of Uruguayan professionals (economists, accountants, engineers, programmers, statisticians), led by Eng. Victor Ganón, with advice from English cybernetics Expert Prof. Stafford Beer.
Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.
Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.
Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to email@example.com with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).