Glossary: SuperMemo 7 for Window
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)
answer field - part of the SuperMemo editing window where the answer is displayed
appending mode - mode of editing windows in which new items can be appended to the database. This mode is entered by choosing edit : append new items or by using switch to append in editing windows (by pressing F8)
approximate - option on the miscellaneous menu that is used to compute a new matrix of optimal factors on the base of the matrix of retention factors. It can also be used to re-evaluate the OF matrix to fit a new value of the forgetting index
audio - submenu on the editing windows menu which is used to record, edit, delete, import and play sound files associated with SuperMemo items
average factor - average of E-factors taken over the whole database. It is displayed in learning parameters as factor
average grade - trailing average of response qualities provided during repetitions. It is displayed in learning parameters as grade.
average interval - average of current intervals taken over the whole database. It is displayed in learning parameters as interval.
average quality - see average grade
average repetition number - average of repetition nos taken over the whole database. It is displayed in learning parameters as repetition (before the colon)
average time - see mean time
Bank - see Database Bank
back - option on the browser menu which is used to undo several recent positioning operations.
browse all - option on the browse menu which is used to browse all items in the database by means of the browser
browse leeches - option on the browse menu which is used to browse all leeches in the database by means of the browser
browse memorized - option on the browse menu which is used to browse all memorized items in the database by means of the browser
browse outstanding - option on the browse menu which is used to browse all outstanding items in the database by means of the browser
browser - module of SuperMemo which is used in browsing a selected subset of items in the database. The browser can be used to inspect all items, intact items, leech items, memorized items, outstanding items, and items found by means of find all. The browser can be activated by (1) choosing any of the options on the browse menu, (2) running find all, or (3) choosing view : browse in analysis : burden
burden - (1)(in learning parameters) number which estimates the average number of items that have to repeated daily:
burden = 1/I(1)+1/I(2)+ ... + 1/I(n)
I(n) - current interval of the n-th item
The burden parameter is displayed in learning parameters as burden. (2) option on the analysis menu that is used to see how many and which items are scheduled for particular days of the process. The burden option is activated by pressing Ctrl+B. (3) see monthly burden and annual burden
case sensitivity - (in search) ability to distinguish between lower-case and upper-case characters. If the searched string is 'SuperMemo' then for 'SUPERMEMO' to be found, the case sensitive check-box must be unchecked in search
cases - (1) (in repetition parameters) number of repetition instances that have been used to compute values of the relevant optimal and retention factors (2) option on the analysis menu which displays the matrix of repetition cases used in computing relevant entries of RF and OF matrices
close - (1) option on the file menu which is used to close the currently used database (denoted as save/close), (2) option on the browser menu which is used to close the currently opened question-item fields in the browser
configuration - desktop arrangement, font, color, word-wrapping, case sensitivity, and other parameters associated with a given SuperMemo database. These parameters are stored in files with the extension INI
copy - (1) operation of the menu of editing windows that makes it possible to copy and edit the currently displayed item. It may be used to quickly append items that have similar wording. (2) option on the file menu which can be used to copy a database to a new location
current interval categories - item categories determined by current intervals. They comprise items whose intervals differ by no more than 100% in relation to each other (e.g. 17-32, 33-64, etc.)
daily burden - see burden
database - (1) collection of items (2) collection of files that store the database and all information pertaining to the learning process. The database cannot be opened if one of the files with the following extensions is missing: INF, ITM, ITI and DAT
Database Bank - SuperMemo World's collection of databases created by SuperMemo learners and by SuperMemo World's database developers
date format - (1) way in which dates are displayed in SuperMemo. It may be DD-MM-YY (UK) or MM-DD-YY (US) (2) check-box in the miscellaneous : options dialog box that is used to change the date format
difficulty of an item - degree to which a given item is difficult to remember. Difficulty is expressed by means of E-factors
difficulty categories - item categories determined by E-factors. They comprise items whose E-factors differ by no more than 0.1 (e.g. from 2.4 to 2.5)
distribution of factors - see factor distribution
distribution of intervals - see interval distribution
e-distribution - see factor distribution
e-factor - number associated with each SuperMemo item. It estimates the difficulty of the item and ranges from 1.3, for the most difficult items, to 3.5 and more, for the easiest items. Initially, all items have their E-factor set at 2.5. This value is later modified in the course of repetitions
editing mode - state of the SuperMemo program in which database operations such as edit, delete, copy, print, etc. are available. It is entered automatically in editing windows when using options such as learn, search, edit, random test, etc.
edit window - one of the editing windows, which is displayed upon choosing edit recent item on the edit menu (or using switch to edit in the appending mode)
end - option on the browser : move menu that is used to move the current item to the end of the browsed sequence
exit - option used to destroy editing windows, and the append window, as well as to exit SuperMemo
factor - (1) (in item parameters) see E-factor (2) (in learning parameters) see average factor
factor used - see U-factor
final drill - third stage of the learn all option when repetitions pass again through items that scored a grade less than 4 in response quality assessment in the two previous stages of learning (i.e. outstanding repetitions and memorizing new items)
find all - option on the search menu that is used to find all item containing a particular substring. The items that have been found with find all are placed in the browser and may subsequently be inspected with browse : searched
find first - (1) option on the search menu that is used to find the first item containing a particular substring. The search begins from the current searching position (in the search window), (2) option on the search menu of the browser that is used to search the browser for items containing a given substring
forgetting curve - (1) curve which represents changes of knowledge retention in time (when no repetitions are made) (2) option on the analysis menu that represents forgetting curve, (3) sub-option of the retention, cases, optimal factors, and optimal intervals options on the analysis menu (activated by clicking the mouse on one of the entries of the displayed matrices)
forgetting index - proportion of items that are not remembered at the moment of repetition. In SuperMemo 7, its desired value may be programmed to vary between 3% and 20%, and is displayed in learning parameters as lapses (<number>). The measured value of the forgetting index is displayed to the right of the desired forgetting index.
form feed - option on the editing window menu that is used to issue a printer's form feed command (page eject). Form feed is useful when less than a pageful of items is to be printed, and should follow the print command for particular items. If form feed were not issued, the items pending in the printing queue would be kept in a text file with the extension PRN
function of optimal intervals - function that relates the length of optimal intervals with the repetition number and E-factor. In SuperMemo 7, it is represented in a tabular form as a matrix of optimal factors:
OI(1,EF) = OF(1,EF)
OI(n,EF) = OI(n-1,EF)*OF(n,EF)
OI(n,EF) - n-th optimal interval for E-factor equal EF
OF(n,EF) - n-th optimal factor for items whose E-factor equals EF
future reps - (in item parameters) the expected number of repetitions of a given item in the course of the nearest 30 years, and the expected total repetition time. The number is computed from the matrix of optimal factors assuming that the item will not be forgotten in the meantime (the probability of forgetting an item in each of the future repetitions equals the forgetting index)
garbage (collection) - option on the tools menu that is used to clean the database from superfluous data. It also performs a rough database integrity check-up. Note, that from the user's point of view, the database before and after garbage looks virtually the same. The major noticeable difference is the drop in size.
grade - (1) (also response quality) number in the range from 0 to 5 which is supposed to reflect the accuracy of the learner's response given in the recently made repetition (2) (in repetition parameters) the value of grade displayed in editing windows after a repetition (3) (in learning parameters) see average grade
image - option in editing windows which is used to create, edit, delete and import bitmap files associated with items
intact - number of intact items in the database. It is displayed in learning parameters
intact database - a database that has not yet been used, i.e. Memorized=0, Intact=Total, Interval=0, etc. (see native database)
integrity error - error caused by inconsistent information stored in the database. It is usually caused by physical damage to one of the database files. It may also be caused by a learner's mistake, e.g. setting the date below the last date used. In most cases, SuperMemo will automatically correct integrity errors. Some of them may be remedied by garbage collection. For most extensive damage the use of recovery tools may be necessary.
item field - part of a editing window or an append window where the question and the answer of the current item are presented
item parameters - collection of parameters that characterize the item currently displayed in one of the editing windows. These include current interval, E-factor, U-factor, repetition number, last repetition, next repetition, etc.
keyboard shortcut - keystroke combination that is used to quickly access remote options independent of the context of use (also hotkey). Keyboard shortcuts are displayed to the right of particular menu items
knowledge acquisition rate - see acquisition rate
knowledge retention - proportion of knowledge retained in memory in result of learning. In SuperMemo, depending on the forgetting index the knowledge retention may vary from 85% to 99% (compare retention at repetitions)
lapse - see memory lapse
lapses - (1) (in item parameters) number of times a given item has been forgotten (displayed at the repetition entry after the colon) (2) (in learning parameters) recorded value of the forgetting index. It is displayed as lapses. The number in parentheses expresses the desired value of the forgetting index (3) (in learning parameters) desired value of the forgetting index. It is displayed in parentheses at the lapses entry (4) (in learning parameters) change of the lapses parameter in a given repetition session. It is displayed as lapses +/- (5) scroll-bar in the miscellaneous : options dialog box that is used to change the desired value of the forgetting index (lapses)
- outstanding repetitions - repeating items scheduled on the current and all outstanding days
- memorizing new items - committing new items to memory
- final drill - repeating again items that scored grades below 4 points in the two previous stages
The remaining options of the Learn menu are used, among others, to pass the three stages of learning independently.
learning parameters - parameters that describe the learning process, displayed in the process windows which is a child of the main window of SuperMemo. These parameters include: total, memorized, intact, burden, retention, lapses, etc.
learn window - one of the editing windows which is used to present items during repetitions in option learn
leech - intractably difficult item that repeatedly causes problem in the learning process. Leech items can be defined by the user by specifying the three following criteria: (1) maximum E-factor, (2) maximum interval, and (3) the minimum number of lapses. In other words, items must seem difficult, be forgotten a number of times, and linger at low intervals to be classified as leeches
lumpiness - tendency of items memorized on the same day to stick together in the learning process. Lumpiness entails substantial variations in the number of items that are to be repeated on particular days. The problem of lumpiness was eliminated in SuperMemo versions above 3 by means of dispersion of intervals.
maintenance of databases - housekeeping operations on SuperMemo database files that ensure compliance with database safety principles. Frequent backing up is the most important part of database maintenance, and provides the most sure protection against all mishaps
matrix of optimal factors - tabular representation of the function of optimal intervals. It is defined in the same way as the matrix of retention factors, and is computed by smoothing the latter. The matrix of optimal factors may be displayed by means of the option optimal factors
matrix of optimal intervals - tabular representation of the function of optimal intervals. It is computed directly from the matrix of optimal factors, and may be inspected to review the values of optimal intervals (option optimal intervals on the analysis menu)
matrix of retention factors - tabular representation of the function of optimal intervals. Because the fact that the matrix of retention factors may be difficult to compute accurately, its smoothed form, the matrix of optimal factors is used in computing optimal intervals The matrix of retention factors may be displayed by means of the option retention
mean time - (in learning parameters) trailing average of time spent on answering questions at repetitions. It is expressed in seconds per item
multifaceted items - items that ask question on the same piece of knowledge, each time from a different standpoint. The use of multifaceted items may reduce workload in databases representing knowledge of highly interdependent, and cohesive structure
native database - database with the learning process included, i.e. with all parameters pertaining to the learner who has been using it. A native database can be converted to an intact database by means of Tools : Reset : Database.
new factor - new value of the E-factor computed right after a repetition. It is displayed among repetition parameters in the learn window
next - (1) option of editing windows that is used to move to the next item (next item is determined by the context) (2) option of the append window that is used to add the currently displayed item to the database and move to editing the next item
next repetition - date at which the next repetition of an item is to take place. It is displayed among item parameters in all editing windows (following the last repetition), as well as among repetition parameters right after a repetition
O-factor - see optimal factor
OF - see optimal factor
OF matrix - see matrix of optimal factors
open - (1) option on the file menu used to open a database for use, (2) option on the browser menu used to open the question and answer fields of the currently highlighted item
optimal factor - one entry of the matrix of optimal factors. For repetition number equal one, the optimal factor is equivalent to the first optimal interval. For repetition numbers greater than one, optimal factors represent the increase of the optimal interval after the relevant repetition
optimal intervals - option on the analysis menu which is used to view the approximate values of optimal intervals used in repetitions. The intervals displayed by the optimal intervals option are derived from the matrix of optimal factors (compare function of optimal intervals)
optimization - (in SuperMemo) process by which the set of E-factors of individual items, as well as the matrix of optimal factors are modified in order to yield the desired retention at repetitions (see lapses)
- E-factor - characterizing the difficulty of items
- O-factor - determining the function of optimal intervals. The matrix of O-factors is produced by smoothing the matrix of R-factors
- R-factor - approximating the function of optimal intervals on the base of forgetting curve sketching
- U-factor - characterizing the increase of subsequent intervals used in the learning process
outstanding - number of items that are scheduled for repetition on the present and all the previous days on which repetitions have not been made. The outstanding parameter is displayed in learning parameters
overall retention - see knowledge retention
parameter set - collection of SuperMemo variables that can be stored on the disk by means of the write parameters option. These are for example: lapses, database path, parameter path, help path, word-wrapping, date format, etc.
print - operation of the editing mode which is used to print the currently displayed item. Note, that items will actually not be printed unless form feed is issued or the printing queue overflows the page. Before printing the page, to-be-printed items are stored in a text file with the extension PRN
process parameters - see learning parameters
programmable SuperMemo - SuperMemo that has the ability to use programmed DLL database modules to execute the repetition procedure. Programmed database may be used to learn touch-typing, playing musical instruments, problem solving, etc. The only limitation is the programmer’s imagination on the possible application of the database. All versions of SuperMemo for Windows starting with release 7.5 are programmable. A touch-typing drill database is available with programmable SuperMemo under the name TT.
quality - see grade
question field - part of a editing window in which the question part of SuperMemo items is displayed
question-answer pair - see item
random tests - submenu on the miscellaneous menu that provides options used to randomly pick up items from the database (e.g. to test a colleague's knowledge, to review the content of a newly acquired database, to randomly pick items from the intact queue, to test one's knowledge of items containing a substring, etc.)
ranking - number in the range from 0 to 10 that is used to characterize the quality of a SuperMemo database included in the SuperMemo World's Database Bank. The quality is based on the database's factual consistence, observance of item formulation principles, linguistic correctness, etc.
recover - option on the tools menu which is used to check for and remedy database integrity errors. Recover should be used each time a database reports integrity problems. Recover does not check the content of the items; therefore it is recommended that garbage be run in case of damage to files storing the content of questions and answers. Recover is equivalent to the Toolkit utility RESCUE.EXE
registration coupon - form used by SuperMemo users to register in SuperMemo World in order to get software upgrades, information materials, database listings, etc.
registration number - unique number given to all legal users of SuperMemo. The number corresponds to the number of copy sold (except for promotional and gift copies that receive numbers less than 1000).
repetition - (1) act of answering a question in the learn option (including memorization of new items) (2) (in item parameters) see repetition number (3) (in learning parameters) see average repetition number
repetition parameters - collection of parameters, displayed in the learn window (bottom-right) that statistically describes the recent repetition. These include: new interval, new E-factor, new OF and RF entries, next repetition, etc.
repetition spacing - see spacing of repetitions
REPSTR.EXE - utility of the SuperMemo Toolkit used to globally replace collections of strings or fonts in a database
RESCUE.EXE - utility of the SuperMemo Toolkit used to recover from database integrity problems. It is equivalent to Tools : Recover
RESET.EXE - utility of the SuperMemo Toolkit used to reset a database to an intact database. Intact database may be useful for other users who would like to start the learning process from scratch. RESET.EXE is equivalent to Tools : Reset : Database
reset item - operation of the editing mode that is used to convert a memorized item into an intact item. All item parameters are modified accordingly. The reset operation should be used each time the text of a memorized items has substantially been modified
reset-wipe - see wipe
response quality - (also grade) number from the range 0-5, which is the learner's score for the accuracy of his response, and is supposed to reflect the degree to which the response matched the answer
retention - (1) see knowledge retention (2) (in learning parameters) estimation of knowledge retention based on the value of the forgetting index, (3) option on the analysis menu that is used to inspect retention at repetitions for particular E-factor and repetition number categories
retention factor - number that estimates the corresponding value of the optimal factor on the base of the shape of the relevant forgetting curve. The retention factor for a given curve is determined by the value of the optimal factor such that the forgetting index equals the desired value
retention matrix - see matrix of retention factors
retention vs acquisition rate trade-off - mutual dependence of knowledge retention and acquisition rate. High values of knowledge retention (i.e. above 90%) imply lower acquisition rate. However, very low retention levels (below 70%), which are disabled in SuperMemo, may also reduce acquisition rate. The greatest acquisition rate may be obtained for the forgetting index in the range 10-25%. This last value depends on the length of the learning period, and the longer the learning period, the lower the recommended value of the forgetting index. Increasing the acquisition rate by reducing the retention deprives the learner of the possibility to determine, which items should be remembered.
RF - see retention factor
R-factor - see retention factor
RF matrix - see matrix of retention factors
safety principles - rules that should be obeyed by the learner in order to ensure that no loss of database information will take place in result of media damage, hardware faults, power failure, human error, etc.
search - option on the main menu that is used to search the database for items containing a specified string of characters. Search may proceed until the first item is found (find first) or until all items have been collected and can be displayed in the browser (find all)
search window - one of the editing windows, which is activated upon finding an item in search
SETUP.EXE - program that can be used to install such components of SuperMemo as SuperMemo Toolkit, sample databases, commercial databases, etc.
shift - option on the browser menu which is used to shift items in the browsing sequence. This option makes sense only for browse all and browse intact; therefore it is inactive in other browser options. Shift may use relative or absolute shift values measured in percentage or in the number of items
SuperMemo - (1) see SuperMemo method (2) computer program implementing the SuperMemo method (e.g. SuperMemo 7 for Windows)
SuperMemo database - see database
SuperMemo item - see item
SuperMemo method - speed-learning method developed by a Polish biologist P.A.Wozniak and promoted world-wide by SuperMemo World. SuperMemo increases the rate of knowledge acquisition at a high level of knowledge retention by means of optimum repetition spacing
SuperMemo session - see session
SuperMemo software - see SuperMemo
SWAP.EXE - one of the programs of SuperMemo Toolkit that is used to swap questions and answers in a database
switch - option on the menu of editing windows that is used to switch the focus from the question to the answer and vice versa
switch to append - option on the menu of editing windows that is used to switch from the editing mode to appending mode. This option, activated by F8, is useful when the browsing of a database is done simultaneously with appending new items
switch to edit - option on the menu of append windows that is used to switch from the appending mode to editing mode. This option, activated by F8, is useful when the appending of new items is done simultaneously with browsing the database
time - (in learning parameters) time used for repetitions in a given session (in hours, minutes and seconds)
Toolkit - a collection of programs used to process SuperMemo databases (e.g. conversion to text, sorting, transferring, merging, splitting, replacing fonts, replacing substrings, statistical analysis, recovery, resetting to the intact form, etc.). All DOS toolkit programs are duplicated on the Tools menu and can be run in Windows. See the manual or TOOLKIT.TXT for details on using the Toolkit
top - option on the browser : move menu that is used to move the current item to the beginning of the browsed sequence
total - (in learning parameters) number of items stored in the database (total = memorized + intact)
TO_TEXT.EXE - one of the programs in SuperMemo Toolkit that is used to convert SuperMemo databases to ASCII text files (extension TXT). These files may later be edited, sorted, and/or converted back to SuperMemo databases by means of Tools : Import text
a(n) = s(n)*f+a(n-1)*(1-f)
a(n) - trailing average for an n-long sequence of number
s(n) - n-th number in the sequence
f - a fraction such that 0<f<1
TRANSFER.EXE - one of the programs in SuperMemo Toolkit that is used to transfer items between databases, merge databases, split databases, etc.
for n>1: U-factor = I(n)/I(n-1)
for n=1: U-factor = I(1)
I(n) - n-th interval used in between repetitions
Note that (1) despite similar interpretation, U-factor differs from R and O-factors in this sense that it expresses the used ratio of intervals while R and O-factors are intended to approximate the desired ratio of intervals, (2) if the new interval differs from the optimal interval then the factor used will differ from the optimal factor. Even if the new interval equals the optimal interval, the factor used may be higher than the optimal factor in case the repetition has been delayed
UF - see U-Factor
unclosed database - database that has been opened and that has not been saved. At opening, such a database will produce the 'Unclosed database' error message. The main reason of leaving databases unclosed are media, hardware and power failures.
used factor - see U-factor
wipe-reset - see wipe
workload - (1) daily amount of time the learner has to spend with SuperMemo (2) (in learning parameters) approximation of workload: