Norbert Wiener

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Norbert Wiener (November 26, 1894, Columbia, Missouri – March 18, 1964, Stockholm, Sweden) was an American mathematician.

A famous child prodigy, Wiener later became an early studier of stochastic and noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems.

Wiener is regarded as the originator of cybernetics, a formalization of the notion of feedback, with many implications for engineering, systems control, computer science, biology, philosophy, and the organization of society.




Wiener was the first child of Leo Wiener and Bertha Kahn, both Jews of Polish and German descent, respectively. Employing teaching methods of his own invention, Leo educated Norbert at home until 1903, except for a brief interlude when Norbert was 7 years of age. Wiener became a child prodigy partly due to his father's tutelage. Earning his living teaching German and Slavic languages, Leo read widely and accumulated a personal library from which the young Norbert benefited greatly. Leo also had ample ability in mathematics, and tutored his son in the subject until he left home.

After graduating from Ayer High School during 1906 at 11 years of age, Wiener entered Tufts College. He was awarded a BA for mathematics during 1909 at the age of 14, whereupon he began graduate studies of zoology at Harvard. During 1910 he transferred to Cornell to study philosophy.

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