The University of Illinois Biological Computer Laboratory (BCL), founded by Professor Heinz von Foerster in 1958, made Illinois an international center of cybernetics research until the lab’s demise in 1976.

One area of research focus at BCL was examining how biological processes could lead to a development of principles that would then inform the design of computing systems.

This interdisciplinary space allowed for different fields to inform one another, often in a circular fashion. BCL attracted world class researchers, who built some of the earliest parallel computers and analog-digital converters, and who published visionary, interdisciplinary writings that continue to engage scholars today.