Monday, November 28, 2011

Creator Of Lisp, John McCarthy, Dead At 84

John McCarthy
John McCarthy
The Inventor of Lisp and Without exaggeration the father of modern artificial intelligence, John McCarthy, passed away this week. with the well known John Nash at Princeton he studied mathematics and, notably, He transmitted the moves in his first Computer Chess Game between the USSR and scientists in the US by telegraph.

the modern artificial intelligence godfather believed AI should be interactive, allowing for a give and take similar to AI simulators like Eliza and, more recently, Siri. His own labs were run in an open, free-wheeling fashion, encouraging exploration and argument. He won the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in 1972 and the National Medal of Science in 1991.

He was born in 1927 in Boston and taught himself higher math using Caltech textbooks when his family moved to the area, allowing him to take advanced classes when he enrolled as a teenager. He received a Ph.D. from Princeton in 1951.

According to McCarthy’s own articles, he created Lisp in order to create Turing machines in the limited computing environment at his disposal.

In this month of fallen giants, it’s nice to think that McCarthy’s work lives on in the many systems – seen and unseen – that control the way we interact with computers and the Internet.

The information of his passing came first from his daughter through informal channels, and was confirmed by Stanford this afternoon.

"If computers of the kind I have advocated become the computers of the future, then computing may someday be organized as a public utility just as the telephone system is a public utility... The computer utility could become the basis of a new and important industry."

— John McCarthy (speaking at the MIT Centennial in 1961).

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