Sad news greeted us earlier today as we learned that LSA pioneer Tom Landauer has passed away. Tom was one of the original inventors of LSA and contributed much to the understanding and development of LSA as a cognitive model and its applications toward a theory of meaning.
I met Tom over 15 years ago when Dian, my wife and co-founder of SBT, took a post-graduate research appointment working with him at the University of Colorado. She worked with him on and off over the succeeding years both at CU and again as a consultant to Knowledge Analysis Technologies, the company he co-founded to develop the Intelligent Essay Assessor which was eventually acquired by Pearson to become Pearson Knowledge Technologies. Dian again had the honor of working with him on one of his last projects at PKT before he retired, doing research toward developing an automated reading tutor using LSA as the core technology.
Tom was a brilliant scholar and a real character. Even though he had distinguished credentials and many notorieties and accolades, he always preferred to just be called Tom. His insight was unique and his accomplishments notable. If we see far, it is because we stand on the shoulders of giants such as Tom Landauer. While I did not have the opportunity to work with him directly, Dian worked with him extensively through several projects, handling the math and numerical algorithm development, and I supported her on the software side of various research projects. We are honored and privileged to have been among his colleagues.