Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Roger Schank is president and CEO of Socratic Arts , and a leading visionary in artificial intelligence.
Schank was formerly professor of computer science and psychology at Yale University and director of the Yale Artificial Intelligence Project. In 1989 he was hired by Northwestern University to found the no-longer extant Institute of Learning Sciences, and helped found the Center for the Learning Sciences at Carnegie-Mellon University. He founded Learning Sciences Corporation (later Cognitive Arts ) as the commercial arm of ILS, and led it until it was sold in 2003, although he had left ILS earlier.
Schank was one of the premier thinkers in artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology in the 1970s and 1980s. Schank's major innovation in these fields were his concepts of case based reasoning and dynamic memory. Both of these were opposed to more traditional views of memory and reasoning in the field. The classic cognitivist view of cognition popular at the time viewed cognition as being the rule (or algorithm) bound manipulation of symbols. Schank on the other hand stated that memory was in the form of meaningful 'stories' (not merely inert decontextualized information) and that problem solving progressed by using 'cases' or examples stored in memory. So for example, in the 'classical' view, when we walk to the store, we accomplish this because we have access to a stored algorithm that tells us 'step one, open door, step two, step into street' and so on. In Schank's view on the other hand, we accomplish this because we have access to a stored 'schema' based on previous experience of what it is like to walk to the store, and we don't need rules to describe this.
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