||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (September 2011)|
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (September 2011)|
|Stable release||version 2013 (v. 16.00) november / November 2013|
|Operating system||Windows, Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Web, more|
|Type||Accelerated learning and memory software|
SuperMemo (from "Super Memory") is a learning method and software package developed by SuperMemo World and SuperMemo R&D with Piotr Woźniak in Poland from 1985 to the present. It is based on research into long-term memory, and is a practical application of the spaced repetition learning method that has been proposed for efficient instruction by a number of psychologists as early as in the 1930s. The authors of the learning method and lead programmers of the software are Dr Edward Jacek Gorzelańczyk and Dr Piotr Woźniak.
The software implementation of the SuperMemo algorithm in its most rudimentary and basic form is a database of question and answer (Q&A) fields (or more practically, digital and electronic flashcards). The database is either a pre-made collection, self-made, or in some cases both through Merging.
The software then traverses with the user through each element that is scheduled for repetition (a new set of "reps" is computed for each day on the calendar). The program gathers information about the user's memory through their responses and grades to their active recalls (conscious response to their questions – giving a conscious answer as opposed to passive review).
In three steps, the user reviews the card as follows:
- The user is given a question by SuperMemo
- The user responds with an answer from his own mind (active recall)
- The user gives himself a grade of what best reflects his recall. (A–E grade, or 5–0 grade, depending on what version and/or platform).
The specific algorithms SuperMemo uses have been published, and re-implemented in other programs.
Different algorithms have been used; SM–0 refers to the original (non-computer-based) algorithm, while SM-2 refers to the original computer-based algorithm released in the 1987 (used in SuperMemo versions 1.0 through 3.0, referred to as SM-2 because SuperMemo version 2 was the most popular of these). Subsequent versions of the software have further optimized the algorithm.
SuperMemo currently uses is SM-15.
Criticism of SM3+
The SM-2 algorithm uses the performance on a card to schedule only that card, while SM-3 and newer algorithms use card performance to schedule that card and similar cards. The additional optimizations sometimes yield perverse results – answering "hard" on a card may yield an interval longer than answering "easy" on a card – and are criticized as reducing the robustness of the algorithm, making it more sensitive to variations – non-uniform difficulty of cards (a problem in versions 4 to 6, according to Wozniak), inconsistencies in studying, and so forth.
Wozniak disagreed with the criticism, but noted that in practice the other factors affecting study make it not very important.
The SM-2 algorithm has proven most popular in other applications, and is used (in modified form) in Anki and Mnemosyne, among others. Org-drill implements SM-5 by default, and optionally other algorithms such as SM-2.
- Wolf, Gary (2008), "Want to Remember Everything You'll Ever Learn? Surrender to This Algorithm", Wired Magazine
- Spitzer, Herbert F. (Dec 1939). "Studies in Retention". Journal of Educational Psychology 30 (9): 641–656. ISSN 0022-0663.
- Piotr Woźniak: Theoretical aspects of spaced repetition in learning
- Wolf, Gary (2012), "QS Primer: Spaced Repetition and Learning", Quantified Self
- Biedalak K., Murakowski J., Woźniak P.: Using SuperMemo without a computer – Paper and pencil method
- Purdy, Kevin (2010), "Use Incremental Reading to Memorize Large Batches of Data", Lifehacker
- 3. Account of research leading to the SuperMemo method, 3.1. The approximate function of optimal intervals and 3.2. Application of a computer to improve the results obtained in working with the SuperMemo method, P. A. Woźniak, Optimization of learning, Master's Thesis, University of Technology in Poznan, 1990.
- What spaced repetition algorithm does Anki use?, "If you are very consistent in your studies and all cards are of a very similar difficulty, this approach can work quite well. However, once inconsistencies are introduced into the equation (cards of varying difficulty, not studying at the same time every day), SM3+ is more prone to incorrect guesses at the next interval – resulting in cards being scheduled too often or too far in the future. "Furthermore, as SM3+ dynamically adjusts the "optimum factors" table, a situation can often arise where answering "hard" on a card can result in a longer interval than answering "easy" would give. The next times are hidden from you in SuperMemo so the user is never aware of this."
- Tomasz P. Szynalski: Use spaced-repetition software (SRS) – An introduction to spaced-repetition and SuperMemo
- Pawel Kowalczyk: Learn English with SuperMemo – How SuperMemo can help learn English
- Patrick Kenny: Memory Software: SuperMemo – A guide to using SuperMemo to study Japanese