Spaced Repetition and the SuperMemo Learning Algorithm

Spaced repe­ti­tion is a learn­ing tech­nique tak­ing advant­age of what is known as the ‘for­get­ting curve’: a pre­dict­able pat­tern of how we for­get inform­a­tion. With this in mind, Pio­tr Woźniak developed Super­Memo—an algorithm spe­cific­ally designed to pre­dict the future state of a person’s memory to sched­ule inform­a­tion reviews at the optim­al time.

Wired pro­files Woźniak, tak­ing a closer look at the psy­cho­logy and applic­a­tions of this learn­ing tech­nique.

Wozniak's Spacing Effect Graph

7 thoughts on “Spaced Repetition and the SuperMemo Learning Algorithm

  1. Andrew Smith

    This looks really inter­est­ing, although I thought the art­icle could have been half the length.
    Have you come across a web app that does this? I’m sure a clean ajax inter­face could be designed for this rel­at­ively eas­ily. Or an iPhone app to do your daily dose of revi­sion.

  2. Lloyd Morgan Post author

    Or less… art­icles like this really could do without the per­son­al pro­fil­ing.

    As for applic­a­tions that employ this tech­nique: there are a few I’ve noticed, but none I’ve tried.

    Bet­ter­Memo looks good, although the free ver­sion is very lim­ited (only 30 notes allowed). Fur­ther­more, it’s not a web app (what is this, the 90s?).
    The ridicu­lously named Spicy Ele­phant is a web app, but doesn’t look that impress­ive.
    Finally, the open source Mnemo­syne (also not a web app) looks nice enough and is OS-neut­ral.

    Not a great selec­tion, unfor­tu­nately. So far I haven’t come across any­thing for the iPhone, although I’m sure some­thing is in the pipeline giv­en how many Google res­ults there are for “iPhone Super­Memo”.

  3. FlashcardDB.com

    Hi Lloyd

    Flash­card­DB offers the Super­memo algorithm in ajax-y wep app form. (The Leit­ner Sys­tem too). Soon, you will see e-mail and twit­ter noti­fic­a­tions for when repe­ti­tions are due. I’m also work­ing on adding more detailed stats and an iPhone inter­face. No lim­its on notes/cards.

  4. Lloyd Morgan Post author

    Thanks for the inform­a­tion – I’ve just registered at Flash­card­DB (as has Andrew—the pre­vi­ous com­menter) and am impressed.

    First impres­sions are def­in­itely favour­able.

    Again, thanks very much for point­ing this out. Greatly appre­ci­ated.

  5. Rents

    It is writ­ten that the super­memo applic­a­tion for iphone is going to be avail­able for free next weeks. Let’s hope it will be there asap.

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