Date: Fri, 24 Jul 92 11:49:27 -0400
Subject: Internationally Noted Computer Scientist and
         Psychologist Allen Newell Dies
From: The CMU Soar Research Group
For release: Immediate
 
Allen Newell, one of the founders of the fields of artificial
intelligence and cognitive science, died July 19 in Pittsburgh.  He
was 65.
 
Newell earned an international reputation for his pioneering work in
artificial intelligence, the theory of human cognition and the
development of computer software and hardware systems for complex
information processing.
 
Last month he was awarded the National Medal of Science by President
Bush.
 
Newell's career spanned the entire computer era, which began in the
early 1950s.  In computer science, he worked on areas as diverse as
list processing, computer description languages, hypertext systems and
psychologically based models of human-computer interaction.
 
The fields of artificial intelligence and cognitive science grew in
part from his idea that computers could process symbols as well as
numbers, and if programmed properly would be capable of solving
problems in the same way humans do.  In the 1960's (in particular)
Allen and Herb Simon created computer models of human problem solving.
This work was one of the major forces behind the "cognitive
revolution" in psychology.
 
Throughout his research career his work touched on architectures to
support intelligent action in humans and machines.  Since the early
1980s, his research interests were centered on the development of
Soar, a cognitive architecture realized as a software system capable
of solving problems and learning in ways similar to human beings.  As
a proposed unified theory of cognition, the goal of Soar is to provide
an underlying structure that would enable a computer system to perform
the complete range of mental tasks.  Soar has been in use for the past
five years as a framework for intelligent system design at research
institutions around the world.
 
A native of San Francisco, Newell received a bachelor's degree in
physics from Stanford University in 1949.  He spent a year at Princeton
University doing graduate work in mathematics, and worked for the Rand
Corporation as a research scientist from 1950-61.  While at Rand, he met
Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Simon, then a professor of industrial
administration at Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT), now Carnegie
Mellon University.  Their discussions on how human thinking could be
modeled led Newell to come to Pittsburgh so the two could collaborate.
Newell earned a doctor's degree in industrial administration from CIT's
business school in 1957.
 
Newell joined the CIT faculty as a professor in 1961.  He played a
pivotal role in creating Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science
and elevating the school to world-class status.
 
Newell, a professor of psychology and the U.A. and Helen Whitaker
professor of computer science at the time of his death, wrote and
co-authored more than 250 publications, including 10 books.  He
co-authored "Human Problem Solving" with Simon in 1972, and
co-authored "The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction" with two
colleagues in 1983.  His most recent book, "Unified Theories of
Cognition," published by Harvard University Press in 1990, is based on
the thesis that tools are at hand that will allow psychologists to
start to develop a unified theory describing many different types of
behavior, instead of building separate theories to cover isolated
aspects, as has long been the practice.
 
Newell's awards and honors include the Harry Goode Award of the
American Federation of Information Processing Societies (1971); the
A.M. Turing Award of the Association for Computing Machinery, jointly
with Simon (1975); the Alexander C. Williams Jr. Award of the Human
Factors Society (1979); the Distinguished Research Contribution Award
of the American Psychological Association (1985); the Research
Excellence Award of the International Joint Conference on Artificial
Intelligence (1989); the Emanuel R. Piore Award of the Institute for
Electrical and Electronic Engineers (1990); and the Franklin
Institute's Louis E. Levy Medal (1992).  He was awarded honorary
doctor degrees by the University of Pennsylvania and Groeningen
University in the Netherlands.
 
Newell was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National
Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He was the first president of the American Association for Artificial
Intelligence and president of the Cognitive Science Society.  In 1987
he delivered the William James Lectures to the Department of
Psychology at Harvard. Those lectures formed the basis for his book,
"Unified Theories of Cognition."
 
Newell is survived by his wife, Noel and a son, Paul, who lives in California.