SuperMemo 8 Glossary

acquisition rate - speed of learning, usually expressed in items memorized per year per minute. For example, if 20 minutes a day yield 10,000 items a year, the acquisition rate is 500 items/year/min. In SuperMemo, the acquisition rate may vary from 100-1000 depending on the difficulty of the material, forgetting index and the stage of the process (acquisition rate may substantially decrease in the period of the first year; later it stabilizes asymptotically)

browser - any window with a collection of elements. Browsers are mostly available from the View menu and provide a set of operations available from the browser pop-up menu.

- (in the Statistics window) number which estimates the average number of items that have to be repeated daily:

burden = 1/I(1)+1/I(2)+ ... + 1/I(n)


I(n) - current interval of the n-th item

category - a named branch of the knowledge hierarchy to which items belonging to a given knowledge category are added (e.g. you might keep such categories: General Knowledge, Family, Internet, Job, etc.). Every category is characterized by (1) name, (2) item template (which determines the appearance of its items, e.g. color, font, size, etc.), (3) root (hierarchy node that is the ascendant of all newly added elements) and (4) hook (hierarchy node to which new elements are added as children until the children limit is passed when a new descendant of root is chosen as the new hook). Categories can be edited with Tools : Categories.

ClipBox - a temporary cache for elements or components. It works in a similar way like the Windows clipboard. First you place an object in a ClipBox and then you can fetch it from the ClipBox as many times as you wish. Quitting the program empties all ClipBoxes. There are three kinds of ClipBoxes placed on the toolbar: Element ClipBox (used in copying elements), Component ClipBox (used in copying components) and Hyperlink ClipBox (used in creating hyperlinks). See Using ClipBoxes.

component - single object placed within the knowledge element display area. A component may be of the following types: text, Spell-Pad, sound, image, video, program script, external binary object (DLL or EXE) or shape (rectangle, ellipse, line, etc.).

- in earlier versions of SuperMemo, a database was a collection of question-answer pairs used in learning. In SuperMemo 8, a term knowledge system is used instead of the term database. This is to amplify the fact that in SuperMemo 8, (1) knowledge elements may have multimedia character, (2) knowledge is structured by means of knowledge hierarchy, and (3) individual knowledge elements are connected by means of hyperlinks.

- single page in the knowledge system. Every element is represented in the Contents windows as a hierarchy node. An element can either be a topic or an item. A topic synthetically presents some part of the learning material. Items provide testing questions or exercises for drilling the material presented in topics. In the simplest case, topics have a form of a page of text while items are formulated as questions and answers.

element window - window in which the contents of knowledge elements is displayed. Its toolbar contains buttons Contents, Search, <, >, Next and History.

final drill -
last stage of the learning process passed on a given day, in which only elements that scored a grade less than Good (4) are repeated as long as they continue scoring less than Good

forgetting index
- proportion of items that are not remembered at repetitions. Forgetting index can be programmed to fall between 3% and 20%. This way, the speed vs. accuracy trade-off in learning can be controlled by the student

full access mode
- mode of operation of SuperMemo in which all knowledge system editing options are available. The two other modes are read-only, in which only reviewing the knowledge system is possible, and learn-only, in which learning is enabled but all editing options are turned off. To turn on the full access mode: (1) make sure that full SuperMemo is run, i.e. SuperMemo is not hidden (press Ctrl+Alt+F12 if you are not sure), (2) choose Tools : Options on the menu (or press Ctrl+P) and (3) choose Data access : Access mode : Full access.

full SuperMemo
- SuperMemo can work in two basic modes: (1) basic SuperMemo for beginners (limited number of options) and (2) full SuperMemo with all authoring options. You can switch between the two modes by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F12. You can also choose File : SuperMemo to activate full SuperMemo in basic mode, and File : Hide SuperMemo to hide the authoring shell of SuperMemo in the full mode. Note that by switching to full SuperMemo, you are automatically entering full access mode (i.e. read-only and learn-only modes will be unlocked).
hierarchy -
the tree structure in which particular elements of the knowledge system are organized. The knowledge hierarchy is presented in the Contents window. The root element (the first element) in the hierarchy is called the master node. Particular nodes of the tree can hold several thousand children each, but for performance reasons it is recommended not to keep more than a hundred children elements in a node

hierarchy node - one element in the knowledge hierarchy tree presented in the Contents window and corresponding to a single topic or item of the knowledge system. You can add new nodes with Add, Sibling and Insert in the Contents window, or with Edit : Add a new item on the main menu. In the latter case, the newly added element is filled out with the contents of the default append template.

hook node
- a hierarchy node to which new elements belonging to a given category are currently added as children. The hook node is either the same as the root node, is a child of the root node or is a descendant of the root node. Once the children limit of a hook is passed, a new hook is chosen. Naturally, the new hook will be a descendant of the root of the current category.

hyperlink -
connection established between a component and an element different than the element owning the component. Hyperlinks make it possible to navigate in knowledge hyperspace by clicking individual components rather than using navigation toolbar commands. You can set a hyperlink by using Hyperlink on component pop-up menu. You can also Ctrl+drag a component to Hyperlink ClipBox and drop it on the hyperlinked element.

item -
knowledge element that has a stimulus-response structure and is used in repetitions (most often, the stimulus-response pair is just a question-answer pair). Usually, items are associated with their owning topic. The simplicity and univocality of items is one of the fundamental preconditions for success with SuperMemo

knowledge system -
collection of pages called knowledge elements organized into knowledge hierarchy and connected by hyperlinks. A knowledge systems of a given name is stored in a directory that bears the same name, and all its important statistical and learning data are stored in a file with the extension KNO

mnemonic hyperspace -
extension of Tony Buzan’s concept of mind maps by application of hyperlinks between the mind map components and mind map editability. Mind maps are considered an excellent form of representing knowledge for the purpose of learning. SuperMemo makes it possible to create simple mind maps that contain multimedia objects

outstanding element
- element that is awaiting repetition that satisfies the criteria of optimum interval. Each element in the learning process has its next repetition date determined by the repetition spacing algorithm. On the given date and later on, the element is considered outstanding

pending queue
- queue of elements that are awaiting memorization. Pending queue is modified upon using learning options, Commit (removing the current element from the pending queue), and Reset (adding a memorized element back to the end of the pending queue). Pending queue determines the order of learned elements in the linear learning mode

programmed component
- a component that can execute a binary file written in any language (DLL or EXE). Programmed components make it possible to extend the range of applications of SuperMemo into any imaginable area

repetition spacing -
technique of optimizing the learning process by computing optimum intervals that should separate repetitions of individual pieces of knowledge. SuperMemo pioneered application of repetition spacing in learning (first implemented as software in 1987) and has gained world-wide acclaim through its impact on increasing the productivity of learning. SuperMemo 8, the hypermedia-enabled version of SuperMemo, uses the most recent unpublished repetition spacing algorithm

- a sorted collection of named objects called registry member that are used in creating knowledge elements in SuperMemo. Objects stored in registries may have the form of sound, video, image, executable program, DLL, font, text, etc. You can link particular objects with components in knowledge elements by means of Link registry member on component pop-up menu. Upon choosing the appropriate object name in the registry, choose Link and the object will appear within the selected component. See Registry menu for more on registry operations.

root node
- a hierarchy node to which all elements belonging to a given category are added. For example, hierarchy node named Chemistry might be a root node of all elements belonging to chemistry

- speed-learning technology developed by Polish biologist Dr. P.A. Wozniak, and promoted worldwide by SuperMemo World. SuperMemo makes it possible to minimize time necessary to retain once learned material in the student’s memory. SuperMemo uses the model of user memory to compute the optimum spacing of repetitions. SuperMemo 8 uses the newest SuperMemo algorithm called Algorithm SM-8.

SuperMemo 8 for Windows - educational hypermedia authoring tool based on the SuperMemo method. All knowledge systems developed with SuperMemo 8 are shipped with the program itself. You can always activate the full SuperMemo 8 in knowledge systems in which it is hidden. For that purpose, press Ctrl+Alt+F12 (or choose File : SuperMemo).

SuperMemo World
- software company founded in July 1991 by a computer scientist K. Biedalak (MSc) and the author of the SuperMemo method P.A. Wozniak (Ph.D.).
SuperMemo World devotes all its resources to the promotion of the SuperMemo method of fast learning. Its product SuperMemo is one of the most successful Windows applications developed in Poland. SuperMemo software line has collected innumerous awards at software competitions in Poland and abroad and has twice topped the ranking of most popular Polish software by PC World Komputer (1994 and 1995).

SuperMemo World
ul.R.Maya 1,
61-371 Poznan
e-mail: SuperMemoMail

template - reusable definition of an element appearance. It may define the type and attributes of individual components such as size, color, font, image files, alignment, etc. All templates used by a given knowledge system are kept in the template registry.

topic - knowledge element that presents the synthetic review of a selected part of the learned material. Optimally, topics should be used only in selective learning mode for knowledge presentation and should be dismissed in the learning process (that is the default behavior of SuperMemo). All children of the topic are considered elements that decompose the synthetic knowledge of the topic into stimulus-response pairs used in the learning process. In the automatic learning mode (evoked with Ctrl+L), topics are presented before memorizing relevant items and are dismissed immediately upon the first repetition.