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Here is the very basic information on how to start running ACT-R 6.  More 
information is available in the tutorials, the reference manual, and the
ACT-R Environment's manual.

These instructions are for using the ACT-R source code and not the ACT-R 
standalone application.  The instructions for the standalone version are 
different and vary by system.  You should consult the readme file that is 
included with the standalone for instructions on how to install and run it.

1) Download the source files and extract them from the zip archive.

2) Start your Lisp application.  ACT-R should work with any ANSI Common Lisp 
and it has been tested with ACL (Allegro Common Lisp), LispWorks, MCL (Macintosh
Common Lisp), CLisp, CMUCL, OpenMCL, CCL (Clozure Common Lisp), SBCL, and ABCL.

3) In your Lisp application, load the load-act-r-6.lisp file which is found at 
the top level of the ACT-R sources.

That will load all of the necessary ACT-R files, and once the ACT-R version 
information is printed it is ready to use.


If you would like to use the ACT-R Environment GUI and you have a Lisp 
application which can run it then you need to perform steps 4-6 listed here
or the alternative step 4 listed in the next section if applicable.

The ACT-R Environment can be run with ACL, LispWorks, MCL, OpenMCL, CCL, CMUCL,
and versions of SBCL that have the multiprocessing support included.

4) Run the appropriate Environment application which is included with the ACT-R
source files.  The applications are found in the environment directory.

 - On Windows you should run the "Start Environment.exe" application.
 - On Macs with OS X it's the "Start Environment OSX" application.  
   Note: If you are using Mac OS 10.8 and get a warning that the file is "damaged 
   and can't be opened" the issue is probably due to permissions.  Open your
   System Preferences and under "Security & Privacy" set the "Allow applications 
   downloaded from:" to Anywhere before running it.  Once you successfully
   run it you can change your preferences back to a safer setting.
 - For Unix/Linux you need to have Tcl/Tk installed and then you must run 
   the starter.tcl script located in the environment/GUI directory.  Executing 
   that script directly should work, but if not you may need to call the wish
   interpreter to execute it i.e. "wish starter.tcl" (without the quotes).

5) Wait for the "Control Panel" window to appear.  It should be on the far 
right side of your display and will say "Waiting for ACT-R" at the top.

6) Once the "Control Panel" is waiting call the start-environment function 
from the Lisp with ACT-R loaded in it.  That will connect ACT-R to the GUI 
tools and several buttons should now be available on the "Control Panel". 

After the buttons appear the ACT-R Environment is connected and ready to use.

When you are done using ACT-R you should stop the ACT-R Environment by calling
stop-environment before closing the Lisp application or the Environment 
application to make sure that the Environment closes properly and saves its


Alternative instructions for starting the ACT-R Environment.  If you are using 
LispWorks or Allegro Common Lisp under either Mac OS X or Windows or Clozure
Common Lisp under Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, then you may be able to replace 
steps 4-6 above with a single step.
4) Call the function run-environment.  That should automatically run the 
appropriate Environment application and then initiate the connection between 
ACT-R and the Environment, but run-environment may not work on all machines 
for a variety of reasons.  

If the Environment application does not start, then you should use the standard 
instructions described above.  If the Environment application is slow to start 
and there is an "Unable to connect" message displayed in the Lisp you can ignore 
that and wait for it to try again.  If that happens regularly and you want to 
avoid the "Unable to connect" warnings, then you can increase the delay before 
ACT-R attempts to connect to the Environment.  The delay can be provided as an 
optional parameter to run-environment specfying how many seconds to wait.  The 
default delay is 5 seconds but a longer delay may be necessary to avoid the 
warning, and on some machines a shorter delay will work just fine if you are in 
a hurry.

Just like with the full instructions above, when you are done with ACT-R you should
call the stop-environment command before closing the Lisp application.


If you have any questions, problems, or comments please send them to 
Dan (db30@andrew.cmu.edu).