「華人戴明學院」是戴明哲學的學習共同體 ,致力於淵博型智識系統的研究、推廣和運用。 The purpose of this blog is to advance the ideas and ideals of W. Edwards Deming.

2015年7月6日 星期一

Dr. Myron Tribus.

 這是2004年10月寫的. 與 Dr. Myron Tribus 失去聯絡多時.....


昨天Myron Tribus博士的發言很有意思。這位80幾歲的先生幾年前邀我去布拉格發表論文。我寫了Herbert Simon 與幾位名人對於「管理科學之要求」的吵架/論述。不過很後悔沒去捷克一會—這應是我們有情很值得紀念的—他80歲壽誕,我是少數外國人送文章,引打油詩(有很有名的「蝸牛(有軌車) vs 巴士」),說笑話誌慶的—我將他名字翻成「崔巴士」。

Deming 80年代的書都是他在MIT的 Advanced Engineering Study Center出版的(不是The MIT Press)。他是熱力學專家,幹過美國助理部長、工學院院長、節目主持人。


A loss function could be very one sided. Consider the "William Tell"
loss function. If he shoots the apple off his son's head, the loss is
"zero". If he shoots too high, the loss is the cost of an arrow. If he
shoots too low, well, the cost might be incalculable.
Pessimists work with loss functions. Optimists work with value

Loss functions are not "scientific". Loss functions are highly
personal. To ascribe a loss function to society requires plenty of

Myron Tribus

猶太依地語裡有個字chutzpah,意謂蠻不講理的要求或辯解。例如:弒 父殺母的人受審時乞求法官憐憫,理由是他已成為孤兒。 ... 真是chutzpah的上佳例子。chutzpah :ひどい厚かましさ,厚顔無恥,鉄面皮;chutzpa, hutzpa, hutzpah とも書く。 例stunning entrepreneurial chutzpah:驚くような企業の厚かましさ
chutzpah (KHOOT-spuh, HOOT-) noun, also chutzpa
Shameless impudence, brazen nerve, gall, effrontery.
[From Yiddish khutspe, from Late Hebrew huspa.]
"Bill Gates, the company's chairman, even had the chutzpah to say that this week's ruling was a challenge to `healthy competition in the software industry'." Leaders: Breaking Up Microsoft, The Economist (London), Jun 10, 2000.

Steven G. Brant

Steven G. Brant

Posted March 30, 2008 | 04:03 PM (EST)
(You can watch a video version of this essay on YouTube here.)

I scratch my head at how most pundits are saying any remaining campaigning will be purely about Hillary and Barack's personality differences. (I heard David Brooks say that again this morning on Meet The Press.)

Do they really think all that's left is a horse race over the likability factor? I know both campaigns are putting time into driving up their opponent's negatives, but -- in an election season where so many voters want America to go in a new direction -- there is so much more to discuss!
But I guess I have to give the members of all those "best political teams on television" a bye on this, because -- unless you've been exposed to the science of cultural and organizational transformation as I have been -- you will be totally blind to the real "experience issue" of this campaign.
While I'm as interested in personalities as anyone (especially since George Bush's massive personality issues regarding his relationship with his father contributed to his coming close to driving America off a cliff), I urge all the pundits out there to explore the issue of what kind of experience makes change that creates a truly new direction (i.e. a transformation) possible. Because if they do, they will discover a huge story waiting to be reported.
It's a story of (a) how Bill Clinton was taught the science of organizational transformation when he was governor of Arkansas, (b) how he implemented that science statewide through Arkansas' local chambers of commerce, (c) how he ultimately gave up that knowledge and experience when he became president, and (d) how, on the surface, it would appear that he never shared that knowledge and experience with Hillary when he was governor, which means (e) Hillary is blind to the knowledge and experience required to create the kind of transformational change the voters want and that America needs.
Oh... and the pundits would also discover there's this parallel story: Barack may just happen to already know these transformational principles... that they may actually come to him naturally.
Since I know much more about Bill Clinton's story, that's what I'll stick with here. Without "writing a book" about it, here it is:
When Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, he was introduced to the advanced management philosophy known as Quality Management (sometimes called Total Quality Management, or TQM) by Dr. Myron Tribus.
Dr. Tribus was from MIT and worked very closely with Dr. W. Edwards Deming, considered by many to be the father of quality management and a man who was sent by the US government to Japan after WWII to help the Japanese rebuild their manufacturing industries. While not popular in the USA after WWII because America's industrial leaders thought they already knew everything they needed to know, Dr. Deming's methods were ultimately used by American industry starting in 1980 to recapture market share lost to the Japanese, after those methods were brought to their attention by the NBC TV documentary "If Japan Can, Why Can't We?". (Some of you may recall that in the 1970's the quality of Japanese products was so high, that many US companies were losing market share big time. This documentary explained that this was largely the result of the Japanese learning Dr. Deming's quality management principles.)
What did Bill Clinton do with the knowledge Dr. Tribus taught him? He created the Arkansas Quality Management Task Force, a program of the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission. This task force created training programs that worked through local chambers of commerce to create "learning communities" - partnerships between government, business, and non-profits to improve the social and economic health of entire communities. You can read more about this here , and you can read an article by Dr. Tribus about what came to be known as Community Quality Councils here.
I know this story because I became friends with Dr. Tribus in the early 1990s through my volunteer work with the American Society for Quality, where I was a member of (and, at one point, the chair of) the Community Quality Councils Committee. You can read more about the great stuff involving quality management and local and state governments nationwide that was happening back then here.
Unfortunately, when Bill Clinton became president, he didn't advance the use of Dr. Deming's principles across America as he did in Arkansas. There was an effort that sounded like it was TQM-based ("Reinventing Government") but wasn't. At the Democratic Leadership Council annual meeting where I actually got to talk with Bill for a few seconds, he said "I've supported that for a long time." when I thanked him for giving a great speech at the Baldrige National Quality Program's annual conference. But supporting the Baldrige Program is trivial compared with what Bill could have done.
The Clinton administration didn't take the real lessons from Arkansas -- of the value of creating learning communities that are partnerships between government, industry, and non-profits -- and apply them to America as a whole. The US Chamber of Commerce would have been the perfect vehicle for doing this, just as local chambers were in Arkansas. When the history of quality management/Dr. Deming's work in America is written, perhaps Bill Clinton will explain what happened to his commitment to these principles and why.
In fact, the one nationwide effort that Bill Clinton launched that, in my opinion, had Dr. Deming/TQM at its core -- that was a real learning and partnership community -- vanished just as its work was ready to take off: The President's Council on Sustainable Development. This is another great "untold story" from the Clinton administration... and one that could have transformed the whole basis of Al Gore's 2000 campaign.
So, where was Hillary while all this was going on? Well, all you have to do is look at the secretive, top-down, non-team oriented process she used as First Lady to develop her national health care plan to know that she never learned Dr. Deming's principles from Bill. I wonder if Hillary even knows what TQM stands for. Either way, she sure didn't use its principles then. And -- given what I observe to be the top down nature of everything she does these days -- I don't see any evidence of her using those principles today.
Why Bill didn't share all he learned from Dr. Tribus -- and all the good works of the Arkansas Quality Management Task Force -- with Hillary is something I'd like to ask him someday. (And if he did share it with her, then I'd like to ask him why she never used those principles after he explained them to her and showed her the good they were doing state-wide.) This was a massive effort throughout Arkansas that was celebrated at quality management conferences around the country. But Hillary either didn't know about it, knew and didn't care, or knew but didn't recognize the significance of what she was seeing.
(1) Continuous learning and improvement, (2) knowing that mistakes are okay because that's the only way to learn, and (3) partnering with all the other players who will support the resulting plan most strongly if they feel they helped create it. These are some of the core principles Dr. Deming taught... some of the core principles of quality management.
Now, when I think of Barack Obama's campaign... his background as a community organizer... and how he sees what we need to do to succeed in the future... it sounds to me as if he knows these principles already. That's the feeling I have. I don't have the inside story on what Barack has learned that I have regarding Bill, but my gut tells me that Barack knows this stuff.
I'll see if I can get an answer from his campaign about this. If they tell me anything, I'll let you all know.
In the meantime, I hope all the reporters and pundits out there will take what I've written as food for thought... and know that there's a lot more to cover in the contest for the Democratic nomination than just personality differences.
Voters deserve to know how Hillary and Barack will go about giving them what they are promising to give them.
When it comes to setting a new direction for America, "How" is just as important as "What".


Myron Tribus "
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Myron T. Tribus (born October 30, 1921) was the director of the Center for Advanced Engineering Study at MIT. He headed the center when it published W. Edwards Deming's book, Out of the Crisis, and became a leading supporter and interpreter of W. Edwards Deming. He is also known in the 1970s for an insightful book called Rational descriptions, decisions and designs which popularized Bayesian methods with examples. In the 1960s, Tribus coined the term "thermoeconomics".



Dr. Tribus was born in San Francisco. He graduated in 1942 from UCLA, and received his Ph.D in 1949 . He was a captain in the airforce during World War II, and worked as a design-development officer at Wright Field. He received the Thurman Bane award and the Wright Brothers Medal,[1][2] as well as the Alfred Noble Prize (as a joint award from seven societies) [3] for his work developing a thermal ice protection system for aircraft. He joined General Electric and became a gas turbine design engineer, but was unhappy in industry, and went back to academia, joining the faculty of UCLA where he taught thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. He was a visiting professor and director of research at the University of Michigan between 1951and 1953 .
In 1961, he was named dean of Dartmouth College's Thayer School of Engineering.,[4] where he led the faculty in developing a new curriculum based on engineering design and entrepreneurship. He saw hands-on engineering design as being essential at all levels of the curriculum, saying, "Knowledge without know-how is sterile." [5] In 1969, Tribus accepted a post in the Nixon administration as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Science and Technology. [6] On November 23, 1970, he left the Department of Commerce after 18 months to become Senior V.P. for Research & Engineering in Xerox Corp.[7]
He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering on 1973, under Special Fields & Interdisciplinary Engineering, for his contributions to applied sciences that support engineering, to engineering education, and for professional service in education, government, and industry.

Center for Advanced Engineering Study

From 1974 to 1986 Tribus directed the Center for Advanced Engineering Study at MIT.
Myron Tribus "Perversity Principle": "If you try to improve the performance of a system of people, machines, and procedures by setting numerical goals for the improvement of individual parts of the system, the system will defeat your efforts and you will pay a price where you least expect it.".[8]


Tribus is a co-founder of Exergy Inc., a company specializing in the design of advanced, high-efficiency power production systems. In recent years he has focused on the theory of structural cognitive modifiability of Dr. Reuven Feuerstein, an Israeli psychologist.
In 1998, he was awarded the Deming Lecturer Award for "The Contributions of W. Edwards Deming to the Improvement of Education"


He has published over 100 papers on topics ranging from academic subjects, such as heat transfer, fluid mechanics, probability theory, statistical inference, and thermodynamics, to applied topics such as sea water demineralization, aircraft heating, aircraft ice prevention, and the design of engineering curricula. He also had a strong influence concerning the domains of industrial quality, ergonomics, and education. Tribus published two books; Thermostatics and Thermodynamics, which provided the first textbook that bases the laws of thermodynamics on information theory rather than on the classical arguments, and Rational Descriptions, Decisions, and Designs, which introduces Bayesian Decision methods into the engineering design process.


  1. ^ Wins Bane Aviation Award, NY Times, January 18, 1946, p4
  2. ^ Air Engineers get Praise for War Aid: A Double Celebration in the Capital of Japan, NY Times, January 29, 1946, p9
  3. ^ Myron Tribus, 1961, Thermodynamics and Thermostatics: An Introduction to Energy, Information and States of Matter, with Engineering Applications, Back dust cover, D. Van Nostrand Company Inc., 24 West 40 Street, New York 18, New York, U.S.A.
  4. ^ Dartmouth Names Dean at Thayer, NY Times, January 11, 1961, p15
  5. ^ History Thayer School Deans, Dartmouth.edu
  6. ^ [http://www.sciencemag.org/content/170/3962/1065.extract Science 4 Dec 70
  7. ^ Commerce Aide Resigns, NY Times, November 24, 1970, p48
  8. ^ Myron Tribus, Quality First, Washington, D.C.: National Society of Professional Engineers (#1459), 1992


Tribus, Myron (1961). Thermodynamics and Thermostatics: An Introduction to Energy, Information and States of Matter, with Engineering Applications. D. Van Nostrand Company Inc., 24 West 40 Street, New York 18, New York, U.S.A.. ASIN: B000ARSH5S.
Tribus, Myron (1969). Rational Descriptions, Decisions and Designs. Pergamon Press Inc., Maxwell House Fairview Park Elmsford, New York 10523. ISBN 0-08-006393-4.
Tribus, Myron (1978). The Maximum Entropy Formalism (ed. R. D. Levine and M. Tribus). MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-12080-1.
Tribus, Myron (1989). Deployment flow charting. Quality & Productivity, Inc. ASIN: B00072FLOG.
Tribus, Myron (1992). Quality first: Selected papers on quality and productivity improvement. National Society of Professional Engineers; 4th ed edition. ASIN: B0006OXP8Y.
Tribus, Myron (1992). The Germ theory of management. SPC Press, Inc. ISBN 0-945320-33-7.

External links

Perversity Principle": "If you try to improve the performance of a system of people, machines, and procedures by setting numerical goals for the improvement of individual parts of the system, the system will defeat your efforts and you will pay a price where you least expect it.".[8]


HC to  Lou, on Dr. Myron Tribus

M. Tribus 1/ 2;

Dear Lou,
English is very difficult for us. I remember when I read your message "If you would take the time to send me your story about your interesting experience with Myron in electronic form by November 1, we should have a very interesting and fun keepsake for Myron that he will enjoy and treasure." I need to check what is a "keepsake" means. But I must write something to celebrate Myron's birthday. So I spent half an hour to write down some notes and please advise are they "acceptable" and some suggestions for improvement.

Perhaps I was one of the very few friends of Myron who didn't meet with him in person but I wrote two dedications to him. One is my study of late H. A. Simon's early controversy in administrative 'science' with L. Urwick in the 'span of control" issue. I planned to delivered it in Bat'a's first conference but I failed to attend the meeting. Since we learned a lot from Myron's papers posted in Deming Electronic Network so I dedicate one of my contributions to Learning Organization list to thank Myron's generosity.

Myron is well-known in Chinese speaking countries. In Taiwan, I launch a a monthly report since this March and I wrote an account of this in October issue. I try to retell my cyberspace friendship with him here. I introduced two persons ' 80 birthday 'speeches' in our magazine. One is Benjamin Graham's Eightieth Birthday Speech (April 11, 1974) and Tennyson's " Ulysses" is the theme. The other is Prof. R. Ackoff's " On Passing Through 80". I am looking forward to enjoying Myron's.
Myron was very kind to give us a foreword to the Chinese translation of Peter Scholtes's The Leader's Handbook. ( This book was also published in China) Peter is very kind to acknowledge Myron's influence on him on Deming Philosophy. I think Myron's versatile outputs since '80s are amazing and the rippling effects is felt in China now.)

A note of my contributions. I coined Myron's Chinese name while I translated W. W. Schkenbach or Dr. Joiner's books. Myron's Chinese name is Tsuei-Bus, Tsuei is one of Chinese surnames ( Dr. W. E. Deming's Chinese name is Dai-Ming , Dai is another Chinese surnames, Ming like Ming Dynasty, stands for "intelligence and wisdom".) Both Japanese and Chinese translated "bus" directly from the sound. So I hope Myron's name can be remembered by Chinese easily.

This help me to make a joke with Myron in the Chinese magazine since it is common to quote a metaphor of life with "bus" and "tram" : "An engine that moves/ In predestinate grooves,/ I'm not even a bus, I am a tram.".

It is better late than Never. This bring to my point that while I study Dr. Deming life and his papers, I found Myron is one one key persons to know their friendship since '80s. I think around three years ago I wrote to Myron that I hope he wrote his memoir to help 'the rest of us' know the quality revolution in the States better. His answer is encouraging that he is writing one for his family. ( This is very important since Myron's other career paths are very interesting and important for some readers like me but the available resources in the cyberspace are very limited. I traced his story in Xerox with several business books, thanks to the "name index").

What I don't know about Myron. I think if I don't 'study' Myron's book and papers on thermal dynamics, scientific papers including his advocate of Bayesian approach, I only know a fractional of the tip of Myron's assets. Unfortunately, that is the case now. In addition to this, Myron's dedication his time in educational systems is very impressive and a model for us. (I was very moved by his papers and reports posted in DEN). So Myron is a living treasure for many of us. I hope more Chinese  can appreciate and enjoy his wisdom and insights on quality, management and educational leadership.
Best regards,