Carnegie Mellon University

Herbert A. Simon

Herbert SimonHerbert A. Simon earned an unparalleled reputation as a scientist and founding father of several of today’s most important scientific domains. Simon's research interests were exceptional, extending from computer science and artificial intelligence to cognitive psychology, administration and economics.

Simon earned the prestigious A.M. Turing Award for his work in computer science and won the 1978 Nobel Prize in Economics.

“Improvement in post-secondary education will require converting teaching from a solo sport to a community-based research activity,” said Simon in 1986.

Simon joined the CMU faculty in 1949 and had important roles in the formation of several of its departments and schools, including the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (now the Tepper School of Business), the School of Computer Science and the Dietrich College’s Psychology Department, where he was instrumental in the development of its internationally renowned cognitive science group.

The exploration of learning is one common thread across his work and career, playing an essential role in informing his research into cognition, intelligence and decision-making and being a central component is his ongoing work to improve pedagogies and higher education.  In his approach to the latter, there are continuing themes; it is an approach to education that prioritizes the learner, emphasizes the importance of evidence over intuition, and is emphatic in the potential of computing technologies to support learning and research in new and effective ways.

Educators and researchers at Carnegie Mellon continue to strive to meet Simon’s call for a a systematic and scientific approach to improving teaching and learning.  These themes and this challenge are central to the vision of the Simon Initiative.

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