Cybernetics is a transdisciplinary approach for exploring regulatory systems, their structures, constraints, and possibilities. Cybernetics is applicable when a system being analyzed is involved in a closed signaling loop and it is relevant to the study of mechanical, physical, biological, cognitive, and social systems. These concepts are studied by other fields such as engineering and biology, but in cybernetics these are abstracted from the context of the individual organism or device.

Cybernetics was defined in the mid 20th century, by Norbert Wiener as the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine. It grew out from Claude Shannon’s information theory, which was designed to optimize the transfer of information through communication channels.

Cybernetics is related to System Dynamics, an approach to understand the behaviour of complex systems over time, and to Teleology.

Cybernetics is sometimes used as a generic term, which serves as an umbrella for many systems-related scientific fields.