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One of the First Computer Models of How People Learn (1959 – 1961)


For his 1960 Ph.D thesis at Carnegie Institute of Technology (Carnegie Mellon University) carried out under the supervision of Herbert A. Simon, computer scientist Edward Feigenbaum developed EPAM (Elementary Perceiver and Memorizer), a computer program designed to model elementary human symbolic learning. Feigenbaum's thesis first appeared as An Information Processing Theory of Verbal Learning, RAND Corporation Mathematics Dvisision Report P-1817, October 9, 1959. In December 2013 a digital facsimile of Feigenbaum's personal corrected copy of the thesis was available from Stanford University's online archive of Feigenbaum papers at this link.

Feigenbaum's first publication on EPAM may have been "The Simulation of Verbal Learning Behavior," Proceedings of the Western Joint Computer Conference.... May 9-11, 1961 (1961) 121-32. In December 2013 a digital facsimile of this was also available at the same link.

Hook & Norman, Origins of Cyberspace (2002) no. 598.