William Grey Walter

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Walter, William Grey


Born Feb. 19, 1910, in Kansas City, Mo., USA; died May 6, 1977. British neurophysiologist.

Walter graduated from Cambridge University in 1931. From 1939 to 1975 he was head of the research department of the Burden Neurological Institute in Bristol. Walter was one of the founders of electroencephalography; he discovered the delta waves in electroencephalograms in cases of brain tumor, as well as alpha waves and theta waves—the latter being waves that accompany emotional reactions. Walter also constructed models of the nerve and of the central nervous system and invented the very simple early types of cybernetic self-teaching models, specifically “Walter’s turtles.”


In Russian translation:
Zhivoi mozg. Moscow, 1966.


Poletaev, I. A. Signal. Moscow, 1958.
Delgado, J. Mozg i soznanie. Moscow, 1971. (Translated from English.)
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Most of the book is not about cybernetics as a system of ideas or as a field that is still alive today, but rather it is an exploration of the work of several early and influential British workers in the field: Grey Walter (1910-1977), Ross Ashby (1903-1972), Stafford Beer (1926-2002), and Gordon Pask (1928-1996), with significant discussion of two other individuals: Gregory Bateson (1904-1980) and R.