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“.


    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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