PDF Lecture 14.1 - Klahr Problem Solving Lecture.pdf

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Herbert Simon’s ideas and their influence on our understanding of human problem solving & artificial intelligence some brief comments by Professor David Klahr former student and long time colleague of Herbert Simon
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Herbert Simon’s ideas and their influence on our understanding of human problem solving & artificial intelligence or: What’s the big deal about Simon, anyhow?
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Who’s this guy called Herbert Simon , and why is he such a big deal? Started as a political scientist , interested in how city governments solved problems. Saw that “ optimal decision making ”, where decision makers find the best solution, doesn’t exist Introduced the notion of limited attention & computational capacity in organizations. Extended same idea to individuals IN organizations. Limited capacity. People don’t have time to find “optimal” solution. To find a needle in a haystack, you don’t search exhaustively to find the very best one. Instead you find one that’s satisfactory .. good enough. “People satisfice because they don’t have the wits to optimize” . This was a BIG break with classical economics, it started a whole field of decision sciences. Think of your own decision making : did you systematically evaluate all alternatives ? Moved his focus of attention from government organizations to industrial organizations. (That;s why hired at “GSIA” (now Tepper.) Noted that organizations also have limited capacity, and time, and need to focus on some aspects of a problem, and ignore others. Then in the late 1950’s started to study how individual people make decisions and solve complex problems. (some described by prof Kotovsky) At the same time, people were starting to use computers to do “smart’ things”, (origins of AI) and psychological theories were starting to get mathematical, Herb believed that if you had a real theory of some thought process that people use to solve a problem, then you could write a computer program (yes even then) that could do the tas:k: that is, it would respond to hard and easy problems in the same way (with respect to the solution path and time), that people used.
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Three different “methods” for solving problems Generate & Test Hill Climbing Means-Ends Analysis
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