1.0.1 • Public • Published

The spaced repetition algorithm

The algorithm is implemented via a WordList object in the following methods:

- getNextWordToLearn()
- resultWas()

The WordList class extends the BaseWordList class.

A BaseWordList object contains Words, each of which is a hash with language codes as keys (e.g. 'en' is English, 'zh' is Chinese, etc.) where the values are the given word in the given language. The method getUnseenreturns the words in order of "importance", roughly amount of usage or difficulty. EachWord` object (hash) also includes the following keys:

index - order of the Word in the `BaseWordList`
state - undef for words in the `unseen set`
        'working' for words in the 'working set'
        'learned' for words in the 'learned set'
dueAt - timestamp when word is due if in 'working set'
lHistory - array of result values if in 'working set'
numCorrect - number of correct reviews if in 'learned set'

In a WordList object:

  1. Any words in the LearnedWords object exist in only one of 3 sets: 1) The unseen set, 2) the working set or 3) the learned set

  2. Initially, all words in the WordList are in the unseen set. The BaseWordList class maintains the words in an ordered array and has a property named nextUnseenWordPos, initially 0. The words at this position and higher are implicitly the unseen set. When the method getUnseen() is called, the word at this position is returned and the property is incremented by 1.

  3. Each word in the learned set is stored in the array lLearned[n] where n is the number of times this word was correctly identified in a review (i.e. after passing the workingphase). That is, lLearned is an array of arrays. The word will also have a key namednumCorrect` which is set to n.

  4. Each Word in the working set has a field named history which is an array of results achieved during testing (currently only RIGHT=1, WRONG=2). It also has a field named dueAt specifying the date and time that the word is due

  5. Both the working set and the learned set are maintained in the order of the dueAt field

Algorithm for getNextWordToLearn()

if we want a review word find 1st word in lLearned that is not state 'review' mark it as state 'review' return it else find 1st word in lWorking that is not state 'working' if it exists and is due mark it as state 'working return it else if lWorking.size < workingSetSize get another word from 'unseen set' push it onto lWorking set state to 'working return that word elsif next word in the working set exists and is due return that word elsif size of working set < workingSetSize retrieve next word in unseen set if word is defined place that word in the working set return that word else we're done!!!

A Word can be in any of 3 states: 1) 'unseen', 2) 'learning' or 3) 'learned'. All words are initially in the 'unseen' state. The following events are possible:

State 'unseen' FETCH setState 'learning', {lHistory: []}

State 'learning' TEST setState 'testing', {outcome: undef}

State 'testing' TEST_OUTCOME assert defined(outcome, lHistory) append outcome to lHistory while lHistory.size > 5 remove 1st item in lHistory if lHistory is 5 correct setState 'learned', {numReviews: 0} else setState 'learning'

State 'learned' REVIEW setState 'reviewing', {outcome: undef}

State 'reviewing' REVIEW_OUTCOME assert defined(outcome) if outcome == RIGHT increment numReviews setState 'learned' else setState 'learning', {lHistory: []}



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