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Herbert Simon

Herbert Simon

“There are no morals about technology at all. Technology expands our ways of thinking about things, expands our ways of doing things. If we’re bad people we use technology for bad purposes and if we’re good people we use it for good purposes” – Herbert Simon.
Herbert Alexander Simon was a notable and learned personality. He was an accomplished psychologist, economist, sociologist as well as an American politician. Born on June 15th, 1916, he was also a well-known professor at Carnegie Mellon University. His published works consists of over one thousand research papers on various fields comprising of sociology, management, economics, cognitive science and philosophy of science. He is also regarded as one of the most prominent social scientists of the 20th century. Herbert Simon was also known for creating the terms of satisficing and bounded rationality

Simon was a very intelligent child. He acquired his early education from a public school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a school student, he was very interested in science. He also enjoyed doing schoolwork. He became interested in studying social sciences through reading his uncle’s books of economics and psychology at an early age. His uncle was a student of economics at University of Madison, Wisconsin at that time. Simon acquired his BA and Ph.D. in political science from University of Chicago in 1936 and 1943, respectively. He studied there under the supervision of Charles Edward Merriam and Harold Lasswell. Later, he was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree in law from Harvard University. He started his academic career from University of California, Berkeley by attaining the position of a director in a research group. After that, he served as a professor of political science at the Illinois Institute of Technology where he taught from 1942 to 1949. He was also the chairman of political science department of the institute during the same period. He studied mathematical economics with David Hawkins and created Hawkins-Simon theorem through which he proved the conditions for the existence of positive solution vectors for input-output matrices. This accomplishment led him to creating the best way of studying problem solving. He proposed that that simulating problem solving with computer programs is the most innovative method to study it. He also became interested in developing computer simulation to study human cognition. Following that, he became one of the founding members of The Society for General Systems Research. Simon’s profound works on decision making was also the foundation stone of his research works. He invented Logic theory machine and general problem solver in 1956 and 1957, respectively. He was also the pioneer of “Artificial Intelligence”.

He had been bestowed with numerous honors and awards including the “ACM’S Tuning Award” for his valuable contributions in the psychology of human cognition, artificial intelligence and list processing. Other awards include the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, National Medal of Science as well as the Award for outstanding contributions to psychology from the prestigious American Psychological Association. He died on February 9th, 2001, at the age of 84.

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