Herbert A. Simon

Herbert A. Simon

Past Awards

John von Neumann Theory Prize: Winner(s)

The 1988 John von Neumann Theory Prize goes to Dr. Herbert A. Simon for the "Renaissance-like" character of his work in a wide range of research activities. Borrowing the opening paragraph from the official Nobel Prize announcement of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Sweden, the von Neumann citation noted:

Herbert A. Simon's scientific output goes far beyond the disciplines in which he has held professorships: political science, administration, psychology and information sciences. He has made contributions in the fields of science theory, applied mathematics, statistics, operations research, economics and business and public administration (and), in all areas in which he has conducted research, Simon has had something of importance to say.

The citation also read:

The Holt, Modigliani, Muth, Simon model opened a path that continues to be followed in production, employment and inventory scheduling, and Simon's certainty equivalence theorem for quadratic criterion functions has been of fundamental importance.

Also listed were Simon's wide ranging research activities, including:

  1. His work on causal ordering and identifiability provided new interpretations for causation modeling in statistical contexts.
  2. His work on the theory of skew distributions provided a unified basis for interpreting wide ranges of behaviors in the social and management sciences.
  3. His work with Allen Newell opened a new era for research in artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology.
  4. His concepts of "satisficing" and "bounded rationality" have provided a basis for systematizing wide ranges of human and social behavior.
  5. Finally, in his "Sciences of the Artificial," Simon has provided a basis for a "science of design" to complement the classical "sciences of the natural," in ways that are especially appropriate for disciplines like operations research and management science which are concerned with the design of rational systems that are truly implementable.

It is fitting to note that this is all very much in the spirit of John von Neumann, himself, whose work similarly displayed this same kind of wide ranging, 'Renaissance-like, character, the citation concluded.

Speaking to OR/MS Today, Dr. Simon said it was very gratifying to receive the award in recognition of his work. Citing the career of John von Neumann, he went on to say that this (award) represents the use of mathematics to solve problems and the close relationship between basic research and applications.

Dr. Simon described his current work as in the area of cognitive science, the use of computers to simulate human thinking.