Herbert A. Simon

Herbert A. Simon (Herbert Alexander " Herb" ;) Simon ( born June 15, 1916 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, † February 9, 2001 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ) was one of the most influential social scientists of the 20th century. In 1978 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics " for his pioneering research into the decision-making in business organizations ".

Life and work

Simon was the son of German-born parents; his father, Arthur Simon, an electrical engineer (TH Darmstadt) was, in 1903 emigrated from Ebersheim in the U.S., his mother, Edna Marguerite Merkel, a pianist, had ancestors in Prague and Cologne. After training at a high school he sought the example of an uncle, a social scientist, and studied from 1933 in Chicago Social Sciences. His goal was to create a " mathematical social scientists " to be to support social science through an analytical and systematic basis. In 1936 he completed his university studies and was until 1939 as a research assistant in the City Council and from 1939 to 1942 as head of a research group at the University of Berkeley operates. His subject was since his university days in decision making within organizations. In addition to his time in Berkeley, he earned his doctorate at the University of Chicago over decision-making in administrative organizations.

Simon joined in 1942 in Chicago at the Illinois Institute of Technology, a position as a political scientist at, where he built parallel contacts with economists (eg Milton Friedman ) at the University of Chicago and heard lectures in economics. To his mathematical and social science orientation now came a sound training in economics. Since 1949 he built together with other scientists at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, a postgraduate course for industrial administration on. He was also a member of the Commission, which was responsible for the coordination of the Marshall Plan.

The original area of ​​research in decision-making within organizations had never entirely discarded Simon. The subject occupied him continuously over the next few decades, without that he gave up his normal teaching. Since 1954, Simon explored these processes by means of computer simulations, and he developed in 1956 with Allen Newell the Logical Theorist. This program was first able to prove a set of logical theorems. Specifically, led the Logical Theorist proof of 38 theorems from the Principia Mathematica by Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead. This result was a milestone in artificial intelligence because it has been shown that programs are able to actions for which a person needs intelligence. Another important step towards the automatic problem solving was also developed with Newell Software General Problem Solver (General Problem Solver ).

In addition, he worked 1968-1971 in the scientific advisory board of Presidents Johnson and Nixon. Simon was married to Dorothea Pye since 1937 and had three children. In 2001, he died in Pittsburgh.