Herbert Simon, 1916--2001

22 Jun 2023 20:57

American polymath, sadly deceased after an extremely long and productive career. Formally educated in political science and administration, he won the Nobel prize in economics (modestly, he said he was quite surprised by this), and helped found AI (though he thought "complex information processing" a better name at the time), cognitive science and computer science (in which he won the Turing Award). He once explained this range of interests and contributions to a student this way: "I am a monomaniac. What I am a monomaniac about is decision-making."

Influences: Logical positivism. Bertrand Russell. Mathematical logic. Jorge Luis Borges. Social democracy. W. Ross Ashby.

Leading notions: Choice and decision-making. Search. Satisficing. Bounded rationality. Design as a decision process. Science of design. "Sciences of the artificial". "The artifact as interface". "Physical symbol systems". Complexity. Simulation as a source of knowledge.