Alfonso Reyes
areyes@uniandes.edu.co
Participant
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Critic
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I was born in Bogota (Colombia) in 1960, the third of four children. From a very young age I was inclined by social issues perhaps because of my father's background (a criminologist and research professor). However, instead of becoming a lawyer I decided to study physics, mathematics and systems engineering. I got my degrees from Universidad de los Andes in 1984. But as happens in Carmina Burana's wheel of fortune I ended up working for the ministry of justice helping in defining a national strategy for using IT in order to improve the judicial processes in the courts.

Being directly affected by the violence generated by the guerrilla groups, in 1986 I went to the USA. There, I got an MSc in Computer Science ("Knowledge Database Systems") at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1988 I went back to Colombia and joined the Instituto SER de Investigacion, a socially oriented leading research institute. There, I was in charge of the administration of the justice research programme. A programme aimed at proposing mechanisms to improve the effectiveness of the justice system.

In 1992 I went to England with my wife, Sylvia, to pursue a doctoral programme. I got my PhD from the University of Humberside in 1995 with a thesis entitled "A Framework for the design of a social accounting system.". We went back to Colombia in 1996 where my son, Alfonsito, was born. From 1996 to 2000 I worked as an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the Universidad de los Andes. At the same time, I have the opportunity to apply cybernetics concepts and tools in several public institutions. The more important were the National Accounting Office and the National Prosecution Office. Currently I am a research assistant at the University of Lincoln in England.