Carnegie Mellon University

Reinventing Education Based on Data and What Works, Since 1955

“There is no simple path that will take us immediately from the contemporary amateurism of the college to the professional design of learning environments and learning experiences. There are, however, some obvious first steps along the way. The most important step is to find a place on the campus for a team of individuals who are professionals in the design of learning environments—learning engineers, if you will,” Herbert A. Simon wrote in “The Job of a College President” in 1967.

1955

Allen Newell (TPR ’57) joins Prof. Herbert A. Simon’s research team as a Ph.D. student.

1956

CMU creates one of the world’s first university computation centers. With Prof. Alan Perlis (MCS ’42) as its head, it is a joint undertaking of faculty from the business, psychology, electrical engineering and mathematics departments, and the precursor to computer science.

1956

Simon creates a “thinking machine”—enacting a mental process by breaking it down into its simplest steps. Later that year, the term “artificial intelligence” is coined by a small group including Newell and Simon.

1956

Simon, Newell and J. C. Shaw (CIT ’45,’46) of the Rand Corporation develop Logic Theorist, the first artificially intelligent computer program.

1974

Carnegie Cognition Symposium volume entitled "Cognition and Instruction" is published, including chapters by Herb Simon and several other CMU faculty.

1975

Newell and Simon receive the Turing Award for their work on artificial intelligence, the psychology of human cognition and list processing. The pair inspires a wealth of other work on learning and cognition.

1975

Prof. John R. Anderson and CMU colleagues further bring together the disciplines of cognitive psychology and computer science to develop a new model of how people learn.

1978

Simon wins the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on decision making.

1983

The SOAR cognitive architecture and unified theory of cognition begins, led by Newell, John Laird (SCS ’78,’84) and Paul Rosenbloom (SCS ’78,’83). During the 1980s, CMU established three of the four cognitive architectures that were used to explore human perception, reasoning, learning and language.

1988

Alice, an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game or a video to share on the web, is created.

1989

Entire Carnegie Cognition Symposium volume honoring Simon, entitled "Complex Information Processing, The Impact of Herbert A. Simon", edited by David Klahr and Kenneth Kotovsky is published.

1994

The CMU Human-Computer Interaction Institute is created, connecting faculty from computer science, social sciences and design, with Prof. James H. Morris (MCS ’63) as the first director.

1995

Prof. Kenneth R. Koedinger (HSS ’88,’90) and Anderson develop Practical Algebra Tutor. The program pioneers a new form of computer-aided instruction for high school students based on cognitive tutors.

1995

Prof. Jack Mostow (SCS ’81) develops Project LISTEN, an intelligent tutor that helps children learn to read. The National Science Foundation included Project LISTEN’s speech recognition system as one of its top 50 innovations from 1950-2000.

1995

The Center for Automated Learning and Discovery is formed, led by Prof. Thomas M. Mitchell.

1998

Spinoff company Carnegie Learning is founded by CMU scientists to expand adoption of cognitive tutors that rely on sound learning principles for mathematics in U.S. public schools.

1998

Educators from the School of Computer Science create a company, now called iCarnegie, to provide high-quality education, curriculum development and state of the art testing methods at scale.

2001

Carnegie Cognition Symposium volume entitled "Cognition and Instruction: 25 years of Progress" is published, including chapters by Herb Simon, David Klahr, Sharon Carver, John Anderson, Marsha Lovett.

2002

The Open Learning Initiative (OLI) begins at CMU, supported by the Hewlett Foundation.

2004

Paving the way to a data-driven understanding of robust learning, the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center (PSLC) is established as a joint CMU-University of Pittsburgh initiative, with funding from the National Science Foundation.

2004

CMU receives $1,000,000 award to initiate a new Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research (PIER), directed by David Klahr and Sharon Carver. Program is renewed in 2009 and 2015.

2007

Built with technology developed at the School of Computer Science and guided by founders with deep roots in education, Panopto offers a lecture capture system now in use at more than 400 universities.

2012

Study of students at six U.S. public universities shows that CMU's OLI statistics course (taught as combination of online and in class) is just as effective as regular lecture classes, showing the potential of interactive learning systems to maintain quality and reduce cost.

2013

A RAND study found that cognitive tutors developed at CMU help high school students learn algebra more effectively.

2013

The Masters of Educational Technology and Applied Learning Science is created. It is a one-year interdisciplinary degree, jointly taught by leading researchers of learning analytics and educational data mining in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and the Psychology Department.

2014

CMU President Subra Suresh establishes The Simon Initiative to harness the cross-disciplinary learning engineering ecosystem that has developed at CMU. The initiative’s goal is to measurably improve student learning outcomes.

2014

The inaugural meeting of the Global Learning Council (GLC) is held on CMU’s campus. The GLC  is made up of thought leaders working to develop metrics, best practices and standards for learning systems that enhance learning outcomes.

2014

Google sponsors Carnegie Mellon research to improve effectiveness of online education.

2015

The Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded Carnegie Mellon University a $1 million, two-year grant, to demonstrate and help promote the use of technology-enhanced learning techniques in higher education.

2015

A study published in the Proceedings of the Second (2015) ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale shows that the central approach of MOOCs — having students watch to learn — is ineffective. Instead, the emphasis on interactive activities as advocated by Carnegie Mellon University’s Simon Initiative helps students learn about six times more.