Running Head: WHO WAS HERBERT SIMON?
Who was Herbert Simon? A Glimpse of a Nobel Peace Prize Winner Crystal Peru
Politics, Policy and Ethics in the Public Sector
May 30, 2010
Who was Herbert Simon? 2
This paper investigates and provides factual research on Mr. Herbert Simon and his contributions to the founding of Artificial Intelligence. Herbert A. Simon was one of the founding fathers of artificial intelligence. Simon, who, along with Allen Newell and J.C. Shaw, wrote the first AI program in 1956, received many honors in his lifetime, including the Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 1978. Simon was a true renaissance man. He researched human decision-making and problem-solving processes and the implications of those processes for social institutions. Simon's major awards in four areas: psychology, economics, management science and computer science - attest to his breadth of interest and expertise. Simon's impact in the world is no more apparent than at Carnegie Mellon University, where, arguably, he was the most influential person. Simon left behind over 60 years of research and theorems. He also left the computer science world with the heuristic compiler, in which he applied theories and techniques from other disciplines.
Who was Herbert Simon? 3
Who was Herbert Simon? A Glimpse of a Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Herbert Alexander Simon was born into a Jewish family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 15, 1916. His father, Arthur Simon (1881–1948) was an electrical engineer who had come to the United States from Germany in 1903 after earning his engineering degree from the Technische Hochschule of Darmstadt. Arthur, an inventor, who was granted "several dozen patents"; he was also an independent patent attorney. Herbert's mother, Edna Marguerite Merkel, was an accomplished pianist whose ancestors had come from Prague and Cologne. Herbert's European ancestors had been piano makers, goldsmiths, and vintners. Herbert Simon was educated as a child in the public school system in Milwaukee where he developed an interest in science. He found schoolwork to be interesting but rather easy. Unlike many children, Simon was exposed to the idea that human behavior could be studied scientifically at a relatively young age due to the influence of his mother’s younger brother, Harold Merkel, who had studied economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison under John R. Commons. Through his uncle’s books on economics and psychology, Simon discovered the social sciences. Simon received both his B.A. (1936) and his Ph.D. (1943) in political science, from the University of Chicago, where he studied under Harold Lasswell and Charles Edward Merriam. Among his earliest influences, Simon has cited Richard Ely’s economics textbook, Norman Angell’s The Great Illusion, and Henry George’s Progress and Poverty. In 1933, Simon entered
Who was Herbert Simon? 4 the University of Chicago, and following those early influences, he studied the social sciences and mathematics. He was interested in biology, but chose not to study it because of his "color-blindness and awkwardness in the laboratory". He chose instead to focus on political science and economics. His most important mentor at the University was Henry Schultz who was an econometrician and mathematical economist. After enrolling in a course on "Measuring Municipal Governments," Simon was invited to be a research assistant for Clarence Ridley, with whom he coauthored the book Measuring Municipal Activities in 1948. Eventually his studies led him to the field of organizational decision-making, which would become the subject of his doctoral dissertation. From 1939 to 1942, Simon acted as director of a research group at the University of...