Herbert Simon

Herbert Simon

Formal First Name
6/15/1916 - 2/9/2001

Herbert Simon is an American economist and political scientist who is known for his contributions to modern business economics and administrative research. He received many awards for his work in cognitive psychology and computer science. The thread of continuity through all of his work was his interest in human decision-making and problem-solving processes and the implications of these processes for social institutions. He made extensive use of the computer as a tool for both simulating human thinking and augmenting it with artificial intelligence. Dr. Simon was widely considered to be a founder of the field of artificial intelligence.

Professional Experience

Academic History


National Academy of Sciences 1967

American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award 1969

Alan M. Turing Award 1975

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1978

Academy of Management Scholarly Contributions Award 1983

National Medal of Science 1986

John von Neumann Theory Prize 1988

International Federation of Operational Research Societies' Operations Research Hall of Fame 2004

Herbert Simon and his theories on economic decision-making challenged classical economic thinking, including the ideas of rational behavior and the economic man. Rather than subscribing to the idea that economic behavior was rational and based upon all available information to secure the best possible outcome ("optimizing"), Simon believed decision-making was about "satisficing." His term was a combination of the words "satisfy" and "suffice."

He is widely associated with the theory of bounded rationality, which states that individuals do not make perfectly rational decisions because of the difficulty in obtaining and processing all the information needed to do so.