John N. Warfield
May, 1992


Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) is a computer-assisted learning process, with which groups can structure complex issues to form interpretable patterns. Developed in the period 1971-73 by John N. Warfield at the Battelle Memorial Institute, the process was first described in Battelle Monograph Number 4, titled Structuring Complex Systems This monograph was distributed to libraries across the U. S. A. and made available to persons who wrote to Battelle to request it. Later, with Battelle's support, Warfield published a book with John Wiley in 1976 titled SOCIETAL SYSTEMS: PLANNING, POLICY, AND COMPLEXITY. This book presented the essential mathematics for understanding ISM. A variety of papers were published later that further elaborate the underlying mathematics.

For those who wish to study the mathematics, this annotated bibliography provides short descriptions of various relevant publications.


John N. Warfield
May, 1992

1.0 (1973) Warfield, John N.
Binary Matrices in System Modeling
IEEE Trans. on Systems Man & Cybernetics vSMC-3 n5 (September 1973)pages 441-448.
73/004 Journal article
Matrices Transitivity Structural-modeling

Primarily a tutorial on the use of binary matrices in system modeling, this paper introduces a method for developing a binary matrix enroute to a structural model of a system, with a procedure that permits transitivity to be used in developing the matrix.

2.0 (1974) Warfield, John N.
Developing Subsystem Matrices in Structural Modeling.
IEEE Trans. on Systems, Man & Cybernetics vSMC-4 n1 (January 1974) 74-80.
74/005 Journal article
Matrices Structural-modeling Reachability-matrix Transitivity

A requirement for structural modeling is that data be acquired and organized into a form from which a structural model can be developed. A reachability matrix is one such form, useful when the contextual relation being modeled is transitive and multilevel. The author shows how to order the elements of a system in such a way that much of the data required can be computed from supplied data (given transitivity).

3.0 (1974) Warfield, John N.
Developing Interconnection Matrices in Structural Modeling.
IEEE Trans. on Systems, Man & Cybernetics vSMC-4 n1 (January 1974) 81-87.
74/004 Journal article
Matrices Transitivity Structural-modeling

A procedure is described for developing an interconnection matrix that specifies a cascade connection of two known digraphs to form a digraph. The solution of this form of the interconnection problem can be applied to complete the process of description of a binary relation initiated by the process of partitioning on elements described in a companion paper. It is assumed the contextual relation is transitive.

4.0 (1974) Warfield, John N.
Structuring Complex Systems (Battelle Monograph No. 4), April 1974.
Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, OH (1974) 92p.
74/007 Book
Matrices System-analysis Battelle Structural-modeling

This book gives a mathematical basis for writing software which will put interpretive structural models into graphic form. This book is also available for check-out from the Fenwick Library circulating collection, using Call No. QA402 .W37.

5.0 (1974) Warfield, John N.
Toward Interpretation of Complex Structural Models.
IEEE Trans. on Systems, Man & Cybernetics vSMC-4 n5 (September 1974)405-417.
74/008 Journal article
Structural-modeling Reachability-matrix Cycles Weighting

Describes computer operations which assist in the interpretation of complex structural models. Several of these involve partitions on a reachability matrix, which describes a contextual relation among the elements of the system under study. When partitioning of the reachability matrix in various ways does not permit adequate interpretation, cycles are usually the source of difficulty. A weighting matrix applied to the elements of a maximal cycle set permits a set of digraphs to be developed.

6.0 (1976) Warfield, John N.
Implication Structures for Systems Interconnection Matrices
IEEE Trans. Syst., Man & Cybern. vSMC-6 n1 (January 1976) 18-24.
76/021 Journal article
Software Bordering-theorem Transitivity

In this paper the `bordering theorem' is reworked and completed, following its first appearance in incomplete form in 1974. The problem of interconnecting two multilevel subsystems models defined by binary matrices A and B and a common, transitive, contextual relation to form a system model defined by matrix M is solved.

7.0 (1976) Warfield, John N.
Societal Systems: Planning, Policy and Complexity
Wiley, NY (1976), reprinted by Intersystems, Salinas, CA (1989) 490p.
76/022 Book
Policy-sciences Problem-solving,group Chinese-language

A description of a unique methodology for coping with complexity - Interpretive Structural Modeling - which, with its efficient and rapid organization of knowledge, can become the basis for dramatic social gains. The book contains all of the theoretical and mathematical background for the ISM process. This book has been translated into the Chinese language, in a publication issued in 1992, Wuhan, China.

8.0 (1977) Warfield, John N.
Crossing Theory and Hierarchy Mapping
IEEE Trans. Syst., Man & Cybern. vSMC-7 n7 (July 1977) 505-523.
77/013 Journal article
Software ISM Structural-modeling Graph-theory

Techniques are introduced which are applicable to machine construction of digraph maps. See also IASIS File 77/004, for a software package based on this paper, written by R. R. Cline.

9.0 (1979) Warfield, John N.
Some Principles of Knowledge Organization
IEEE Trans. Syst., Man & Cybern. vSMC-9 n6 (June 1979) 317-325.
79/027 Journal article
Software Graph-theory Overlapping-goals Public-policy

The mathematical theory of how to eliminate overlap among concepts, using Translatable Graphics, Structural Types, Problem Definitions, Block Representation of Sets, and Mapping Theory, can be helpful in replacing a set of overlapping goals with a set of relatively independent goals when constructing a usable planning or policy decision.

10.0 (1980) Warfield, John N.
Complementary Relations and Map Reading
IEEE Trans. Syst., Man & Cybern. vSMC-10 n6 (June 1980) 285-291.
80/023 Journal article
Graph-theory ISM Structural-modeling

A description of a method for computer-assisted interpretation of graphical structural models, without requiring mathematical sophistication on the part of the working group using the model.

11.0 (1980) Warfield, John N.
Priority Structures
IEEE Trans. Syst., Man & Cybern. vSMC-10 n10 (October 1980) 642-645.
80/026 Journal article
Hierarchies Structural-modeling

Techniques for correcting structural defects when using interpretive structural modeling.

12.0 (1982) Warfield, John N.
Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) in S.A. Olsen, ed., Group Plan-
ning & Problem Solving Methods in Engineering
Wiley, New York (1982) 155-201 and 408-411.
82/015 Book chapter
ISM Structural-Modeling Problem-solving,group

Published 10 years after the invention of the ISM process, this paper describes the wide scope of its current applications, lists technical and procedural details for its efficient use, includes a review of the mathematical theory supporting its software programs and a response to critics.(In this version of the mathematical theory, the author used only algebraic explanations, excluding all matrices).

13.0 (1986) Warfield, John N.
Micromathematics and Macromathematics
Proc. 1986 IEEE Intnl. Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Atlanta, GA, October 14-17, 1986. IEEE, N.Y. (1986) 1127-1131.
86/007 Proceedings paper
Symbolic-logic Science-philosophy

Peirce's ideas on symbolic logic and the organization of human knowledge are the foundation for Warfield's presentation of a model of information-gathering and processing which will reliably and incrementally increase humanity's storehouse of accurate, usable scientific knowledge. In part, this paper is a protest against current enshrinement of the superficial and insufficient `artificial intelligence'.

14.0 (1987) Warfield, John N.
Complexity Metric for High-Level Software Languages
Proc Intnl Conf. Systems, Man & Cybern. IEEE,NY (1987) 438-442.
87/001 Proceedings paper
Computer-languages ADA ALGOL-60 Pascal Software

By designing a numerical measurement to designate complexity and usability of three computer languages (ADA, Pascal and ALGOL 60) the author demonstrates the relative benefits of the three.


S1.0 (1973) Warfield, John N. and David Malone
Preliminary Specifications for a Computer System to Augment the
Interpretive Structural Modeling Process, A Computer Program.
Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, OH (1973) 24p.
73/008 Research report
Structural-modeling Battelle Software ISM

This report is an outline of a computer program used to augment the interpretive structural modeling process. Sections include an Overview, Protocol and Interactive Dialogue, Systems Structure, Process Structure, Data Structure and Hardware Considerations.

S2.0 (1973) Warfield, John N.
Constructing Operational Value Systems for Proposed Two Unit Coalitions.
Proc. 1973 IEEE Conference on Decision & Control, San Diego, December5-7, IEEE, N.Y. (1973)
73/005 Proceedings paper
Cycles Intent-structures Value-Systems Structural-modeling

A methodology is described for exploration and systemic development of the basis for a coalition of two social units, using computer assistance in developing the structural character of the basis. A joint intent structure and a conflict structure form the basis for consideration of a coalition, with three types of cycles being of special concern in the exploration.

S3.0 (1974) El-Mokadem, A., J. N. Warfield, D. Pollick and K. Kawamura,
Modularization of Large Econometric Models: An Application of Structural Modeling [Reprinted from Proc. 1973 IEEE Conference on Decision and
Control, November 1974, IEEE N.Y. (1974) 683-692].
In M. Baldwin (ed.), Portraits of Complexity (Battelle Monograph No. 9). Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, OH (1975) 194-201.
74/001 Journal article
Econometrics Structural-modeling

Current world-wide economic difficulties suggest that there is a need for methods that lend greater insight into what econometric models tell us. It is also desirable to find simple methods for solving such models. Methods drawn from interpretive structural modeling are shown to provide a very simple solution technique for a 52-equation econometric model, and a flexible, modular interpretation of the model.

S4.0 (1975) Warfield, John N.
Transitive Interconnection of Transitive Structures
Proc. Pittsburgh Conf. Modeling & Sim., IEEE, NY (1975) 791-794.
75/020 Proceedings paper
Transitivity Structural-modeling ISM Software

The need for transitive interconnection of two transitive, multilevel structures occurs in interpretive structural modeling. The theory of such interconnection is given. Some implications for the modeling process are discussed.

S5.0 (1976) Warfield, John N.
Extending Interpretive Structural Modeling
Proc. Pittsburgh Conf. Modeling & Sim., Inst. Soc. Am.(1976) 1163-1167
76/019 Proceedings paper
ISM Structural-modeling

A survey of the types of research, study and applications needed to bring the new tool of Interpretive Structural Modeling into its full potential. Suggestions by the author include more and better computer programs, training of session leaders, development of the theory of cycles, development of computerized graphical displays, increased help for the use of the process by the non-mathematical user.

S6.0 (1980) Warfield, John N.
Interpretive Structural Modeling and Related Work: Annotated Bibliography
Dept. Elec. Eng., Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville (June 1980) 106p.
80/021 Bibliography
ISM Japan

After a trip to Japan in 1978 to attend the International Conference of the IEEE Systems Man and Cybernetics Society in Tokyo, Warfield added the names of numerous Japanese authors to his compilation of persons studying and using Interpretive Structural Modeling, and in 1980 the collected titles of all the papers he could discover became the basis for this first ISM bibliography.

S7.0 (1980) Warfield, John N.
Reading Maps of Relations,
in J. N. Warfield, Self-Paced Learning Units for Use in Environmental Education.
University of Virginia, Charlottesville (March 1980)
80/027 Research report
Environmental-education Graph-theory ISM OEE

A primer-introduction to understanding graphical models, addressed to students. This 16-page report is part of a large environmental education project sponsored by the Office of Environmental Education, and headquartered at the University of Virginia under direction of J. N. Warfield.

S8.0 (1981) Warfield, John N.
Interpretive Structural Modeling and Related Work: Annotated Bibliography, Supplement No. 1.
Center for Interactive Management Report No.1-B.
Center for Interactive Management, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA (December
1981) 14p.
81/012 Bibliography
ISM Structural-modeling Japan

A supplement to the June 1980 bibliography of the same title, this report contains 22 additional titles, with annotations, of papers dealing with the topic of structural modeling, interpretative structural modeling, or significantly similar fields of study. Many of the papers are by Japanese authors.

S9.0 (1985) Warfield, John N.
Structural Analysis of a Computer Language
Proc. 17th SE Symposium System Theory, IEEE, NY (1985) 229-234.
85/008 Proceedings paper
Software Design-theory Graph-theory System-theor

Suggestions for improving the quality of computer language design, by use of complexity-reducing techniques, augmented by graphic representations of the languages. This paper was presented by the author at the Southeastern Symposium on System Theory held at Auburn, Alabama, on March 24-26, 1985.

S10. (1987) Warfield, John N.
Technomyopia Threatens Our National Security
IASIS,George Mason University, Fairfax, VA (1988) 27p. variously paged
88/026 Northern Virginia IEEE Section paper (updated in 1992)
Defense-Science-Board Software

Presented June 22, 1988 at a joint meeting of IEEE Chapters on Computers and Social Implications of Technology, Rosslyn, Virginia, this paper is a critique of the Defense Science Board Military Software Task Report, detailing the problems which the author foresees because of its implicit assumptions. The paper closes with a number of suggestions for improving the situation.