SuperMemo 1.0 (December 1987)

SuperMemo 1.0 was a simple question-and-answer program with options for adding new items and learning them in the user determined sequence. It was written in Borland’s Turbo Pascal 3.0 by Piotr Wozniak, a junior student of computer science at the University of Technology in Poznan.

The most important novelties:

  1. First software implementation

  2. Applying the optimization to individual items grouped by E-Factor category

SuperMemo 2.0 (July 1988)

SuperMemo 2.0 had the look of SuperMemo 1.0 and has mostly enhanced capabilities of the software without adding much to the optimization method.

The program was recompiled with Turbo Pascal 4.0.

In June 1991, SuperMemo 2 was released as public domain software and circled the globe over academic Internet.

SuperMemo 3.0 (October 1988)

The whole program was written again from scratch to apply the then popular standards of windows, pull-down menus and other elements of user-friendly interface.

Most interesting enhancements:

1. Database were given separate names (previously each database, made up of 6 files had to be kept in a separate directory!).

2. Item editor activated during repetitions (earlier, learning had to be interrupted to edit items!).

3. Burden parameter became one of the best indicators of user progress.

4. An option for changing system date appeared very useful.

SuperMemo 4.0 (February 1989)

SuperMemo 4.0 was only a minor improvement over SuperMemo 3.0 in terms of its functionality, but it has, for the first time, used a flexible function of optimal intervals that would adapt to the user’s performance.

New features over the earlier versions:

1. Improved optimization method: function of optimal intervals is modified to adjust it to a given learner and given knowledge

2. Option for displaying optimal intervals

3. Option for displaying the number of repetition cases used in computing optimal intervals

4. Option for displaying distribution of intervals

5. Fast search (1000 items per second: 8086, RAM-disk)

SuperMemo 5.0 (October 1989)

1989 has seen two turning points in the development of the SuperMemo method. The old repetition spacing algorithm from the earliest versions of SuperMemo gave way to the function of optimal intervals based on the matrix of optimal intervals (SuperMemo 4.0) that was promptly replaced with the matrix of optimal factors (SuperMemo 5.0). In terms of functionality, SuperMemo 5.0 did not go far beyond SuperMemo 3.0 developed just a year earlier. However, its new approach to computing the optimum repetition spacing has provided a foundation for Algorithm SM-6 (1991) and yet sturdier Algorithm SM-8 (1995).

In March 1993, SuperMemo 5 has entered public domain and has sinced gained substantial popularity among freeware users around the globe.

New features over the earlier versions:

1. A new, advanced optimization technique based on computing optimal factors rather than optimal intervals

2. Option for displaying optimal factors

3. Option for displaying the approximate values of optimal intervals

4. Option for printing items in the browsing mode

5. Reset operation in the browsing mode (to reset memorized items)

6. Date of the next repetition displayed in the item window

SuperMemo 6.0 (May 1991)

SuperMemo 6.0 for DOS was written from scratch in Turbo Pascal 6. Apart from introducing major changes to the repetition spacing algorithm, it was the first SuperMemo designed with a view to commercial distribution. It was also the first commercial SuperMemo that has sold over 10,000 copies. The idea of plotting forgetting curves for all optimal factors has added greatly to theoretical validity of the SuperMemo algorithm that could now be verifiably shown to produce the optimum repetition spacing for a given level of knowledge retention. Future improvements to the algorithm could therefore only accelerate the covergence of the starting memory model to the optimum model.

SuperMemo 6, as the finalist of Software for Europe Competition 1992, has brought SuperMemo to public attention allowing it to break the image of an intricate software product for a hermetic group of technically-minded people. Instead SuperMemo 6 became one of the best-selling pieces of software in Poland in the early 1990s.

In January 1995, SuperMemo 6 entered public domain and is since available from multiple shareware sites and shareware CD-ROMs around the world.

New features over the earlier versions:

1. New optimization technique based on sketching forgetting curves for particular difficulty categories and repetition numbers.

2. User-defined forgetting index is used to control the speed of learning!

3. Daily burden option with the possibility of editing items scheduled for a given day

4. Monthly and annual burden

5. New process parameters: Average repetition, Average lapses, Average interval, Average E-factor, Requested and measured forgetting index, Retention, Mean repetition time, Workload, etc.

6. Extending the item editor by commands such as Paste, Cut, Delete Word, Delete-EOL, Copy Block, Move Block, Delete Block, Word Right/Left, Replace String, Swap Lines, etc.

7. Option Find extended by Replace

8. Option Duplicate Item in the browsing mode

9. Maximum number of items in a database increased from 10,000 to 60,000

10. Option Schedule item in the browsing mode (used to memorize selected intact items)

11. Option Mercy used to evenly distribute outstanding items (e.g. after a vacation break)

12. Option Wipe is used to reduce the number of repetitions by elongating intervals of short-interval items)

13. Option Reset-Wipe is used to reduce the number of repetitions by resetting short-interval items)

14. REPSTR.EXE utility for font and substring conversion

15. Possibility of redefining keyboard codes with KBD files

16. Font Designer shareware included in the package

SuperMemo 7.0 for Windows (January 1993)

SuperMemo 7.0 was one of the few Windows applications available in Poland at its time (early 1993). Although initially, it found it difficult to compete with SuperMemo 6, it has ultimately became the most popular SuperMemo ever (over 30,000 copies sold by the end of 1996).

In 1993, it became one of the first Polish applications using sound and bitmapped graphics.

In mid-1994, it was also the first Polish Windows software released on CD-ROM.

The number of awards given to SuperMemo 7.0 is too long to be listed here. In 1994 and 1995, SuperMemo 7 was voted the most popular Polish software by readers of PC World Komputer. It was also one of the most eagerly copied pieces of software on illegal software market ahead of the entire Microsoft suite.

New features over the earlier versions:

1. The whole program was written anew from scratch in Borland Pascal 7.0 for Windows using Object Windows Library application framework

2. New database file managing options: Delete database, Rename database, Copy database, Move database, Cut drills (removing items scheduled for Final Drill)

3. Possibility of using several database editing windows at the same time; plus independent Learn, Search and Random Test windows with all operations of the editing mode available. This allows, for example, to browse, search, edit or expand the database during learning

4. Possibility of opening a number of independent Append windows at the same time (e.g. to add or duplicate items at Learn or at Search)

5. Possibility of transferring items and text blocks between all sorts of item windows (via Clipboard)

6. Possibility of duplicating items in the Append window

7. Forgetting curves available from all options displaying optimization matrices (R-Factors, O-Factors, optimal intervals, and Cases)

8. Possibility of working with a few databases at the same time using separate instances of the program

In the following 28 months, the following major versions of SuperMemo 7 have been released: AudioVisual SuperMemo 7.2, SuperMemo 7.3, SuperMemo 7.4 for CD-ROM applications, and SuperMemo 7.5 Programmable that terminated SuperMemo 7 line.

SuperMemo 7.2 (June 1993)

SuperMemo 7.2 was commercially the most successful step in the development of SuperMemo 7 line. By adding the possibility of attaching sound and graphics to item, SuperMemo 7.2 has become one of the first Polish multimedia applications.

New features over the earlier versions:

1. Adding Image menu in editing windows (creating up to 60,000 graphic images associated with items)

2. Adding Audio menu in editing windows (recording and playing up to 60,000 sound files associated with items)

3. Configuration AutoSave

4. Remembering location and sizes of working windows in the program configuration

5. Parameter Future Reps estimating the number of repetitions of a given item in the nearest 30 years

6. Possibility of using any of the Windows fonts in any color in SuperMemo items (option Font)

7. Adding case insensitive item search

8. Adding an option for defining text, sound and graphic editors in Options

9. Adding a configuration file for each database with parameters such as desktop, font, color, search string, etc.

10. Enhancing SuperMemo Toolkit by operations on bitmap and sound files

SuperMemo 7.3 (February 1994)

SuperMemo 7.3 was probably the greatest functional leap in the development of SuperMemo 7 line, however, it went nearly unnoticed by users of SuperMemo and was soon swept into oblivion by CD-ROM releases of SuperMemo 7.4.

New features over the earlier versions:

1. Adding full-screen item browsers (e.g. for all items, for intact items, for memorized items, for outstanding items, for intractable items, etc.)

2. Possibility of searching for all items containing a given substring, and reviewing these items in the search browser (the search browser sequence is preserved between sessions)

3. Possibility of changing the order of items in the database (by means of the general browser)

4. Possibility of editing the intact queue (by means of the intact browser)

5. Option Item:Transfer in editing windows (used to quickly transfer the current item to another database)

6. RESCUE.EXE integrated with the program as File:Recover

7. Introducing the concept of a leech (item which slows down the learning process). Possibility of extracting leeches using the criteria of E-factor, number of lapses, and the interval. Possibility of browsing leeches and randomly reviewing leeches.

8. Possibility of using filter files with database-to-text conversion tool TO_TEXT.EXE that allows defining (1) items that should be included/excluded in/from the output, (2) strings that should be replaced, (3) comment that should be cut, (4) ordinal number delimiters, (5) definitions of ordinals used in sorting databases, etc.

9. Possibility of quickly opening one of the 5 recently used databases from the pick list on the File menu

10. Automatically opening the last used database at running SuperMemo

11. Resizable question-and-answer field in editing windows

12. Possibility of fast switching between appending and editing modes (e.g. to edit recently appended items)

13. Possibility of independently passing one of the three stages of learning: outstanding, memorizing and final drill

14. Random test on item subsets: intact items, memorized items, intractable items, outstanding items, etc.

15. Possibility of alternative viewing items scheduled for a particular day in the item browser (in Analysis : Burden)

16. Possibility of viewing items scheduled for a particular month by clicking entries in the Monthly Burden

17. Possibility of arbitrarily choosing the first interval when memorizing an item

18. True Type support in printing

19. 256-color bitmap support

SuperMemo 7.4 (September 1994)

SuperMemo 7.4 was the first version of SuperMemo released on CD-ROM. Boosted by the best-selling audiodatabase Advanced English, it sold 5000 copies in the late 1994 alone.

New features over the earlier versions:

1. Integrated Toolkit (including tools such as: Recover, Reset, Transfer, Sort, Export text, Import text, Export SM6, Import audiovisual files, Cross-section, SetUp, etc.)

2. Child browsers (e.g. Child:Search makes it possible to selected from the browser all items containing a given substring; Child:Leech extracts all difficult items, etc.)

3. Lexicon and Audio Lexicon make it possible to instantly access words and audio phrases stored in the database (the lexicon may be built for a custom-made database with Build Lexicon using a user-defined filter file)

4. Mercy into the future (e.g. in order to pass all repetitions scheduled for a vacation period before the vacation)

5. Possibility of spelling drills with the Spell-Pad

6. Fuzzy search (e.g. in order to find 'bureaucracy' without remembering the exact spelling)

7. Multiple user menu that makes it possible to define a number of users with separate database directories and database password protection

8. Possibility of using different fonts in questions and in answers (e.g. Latin alphabet in questions and Cyrillic in answers)

9. Four modes of accessing audiovisual files (e.g. in order to repeat audiovisual items whose bitmaps and sound files come from a database stored on CD-ROM, in a colleague's directory, etc.). Possibility of editing audiovisual links in a database with BMP and WAV files stored on CD-ROM.

10. Smart Reset makes it possible to selectively reset the elements of the learning process (e.g. forgetting index, optimization matrices, entire database, etc.)

11. Synchronous Browser's Edit window in browsers makes it easier to browse multiline items, and items illustrated with bitmaps

12. Possibility of defining user's keyboard (by defining KBD files that will assign selected character codes to Alt-key combinations in the item editor)

13. Possibility of comparing one's vocal responses with original audio records in the database

14. 3-D graphs with optimization matrices

SuperMemo 7.5 Programmable (April 1995)

SuperMemo 7.5 was the last step in the development of SuperMemo 7 line and is now available with all SuperMemo 7 products. The greatly hyped programmability of SuperMemo 7.5 has not caught wider attention and did not bring the expected rush towards developing new-class databases (this was probably due to intricate DLL interface and little interest in non-standard SuperMemo applications).

With the fullblown switch towards hypermedia, SuperMemo World terminated the development of SuperMemo 7 in early 1995. This move has greatly disappointed many faithful users of SuperMemo who would then have to wait nearly two years for hypermedial SuperMemo 8. However, this allowed SuperMemo World to dedicate all resources to the new development line, and hopefully will soon reward the wait of diehard users of SuperMemo 7.

New features over the earlier versions:

1. Database programmability, i.e. the ability to execute DLL database modules (to open the way to using SuperMemo in procedural learning, problem solving, playing musical instruments, creativity training, etc.)

2. Adding Touch-typing programmed database to every package

3. Tools menu in the browser makes it possible to perform database operations on the contents of the browser

4. Operations Print All, Delete All, Memorize All and Reset All in the browser

5. Subset operations on the contents of the browser (Open, Save, Add, Subtract, and Intersect)

6. Adding Phonetic Lexicon to Advanced English distributed on CD-ROM. Phonetic Lexicon makes it possible to search for English words by using their phonetic transcription

7. Option of selecting individual items in the browser, and creating a child browser with selected items

8. Option Previous in editing windows provides access to up to fifty recently reviewed items

9. Adding final drill browser and history browser (for up to fifty recently used items)

10. Option Item : Drill in editing windows makes it possible to add an item to the final drill queue

11. Option Move : Randomize in the browser makes it possible to scramble the browser's content (e.g. to randomly reshuffle the final drill queue, etc.)

12. Options Edit : Replace and Search : Replace all in the browser

13. Option Browser : Random test makes it possible to run a random test on items kept in the browser

14. Sound importing options in the browser

15. Show answer, Next and Cancel buttons in learning windows

16. Two menu variants: (1) simple (default) and (2) professional.