John McCarthy (1927 - 2011)
Perhaps it’s just me, but it’s beginning to seem lately as though we are coming to the end of an era, or is it the dawn of a new one? This week I was saddened to hear of the death of John McCarthy, a pioneer in the field of Artificial Intelligence — he coined the term. McCarthy invented the computer language LISP — LISt Processing — which is still used today in AI circles, and is the second oldest high level programming language. During the first Dartmouth conference in 1956 he, and his fellow organizers, came with the notion that “every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.” To be honest, there are aspects of Artificial Intelligence that give me caution, but it is the minds behind the ideas that I find intriguing. The imagination that takes the work of scientists one step further, the offbeat notion that takes something statistical and creates from it.
October has been a tough month for the computing community. On the heels of the deaths of both Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie, Stanford has confirmed that John McCarthy, creator of the programming language Lisp and a founder of AI, passed away on Sunday. He was 84. McCarthy’s influence began at Dartmouth, where he coined the term “artificial intelligence” while planning the first conference in the field , held in 1956. Though he later wished he had named the field differently—“computational intelligence” would have been more apt, if less alluring—McCarthy went on to make significant contributions to the field, creating Lisp , the programming language of choice for many AI applications.
When IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer won its famous chess rematch with then world champion Garry Kasparov in May 1997, the victory was hailed far and wide as a triumph of artificial intelligence. But John McCarthy — the man who coined the term and pioneered the field of AI research — didn’t see it that way. As far back as the mid-60s, chess was called the “Drosophila of artificial intelligence” — a reference to the fruit flies biologists used to uncover the secrets of genetics — and McCarthy believed his successors in AI research had taken the analogy too far. “Computer chess has developed much as genetics might have if the geneticists had concentrated their efforts starting in 1910 on breeding racing Drosophila,” McCarthy wrote following Deep Blue’s win.
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The cause was complications of heart disease, his daughter Sarah McCarthy said. Dr. McCarthy’s career followed the arc of modern computing. Trained as a mathematician, he was responsible for seminal advances in the field and was often called the father of computer time-sharing , a major development of the 1960s that enabled many people and organizations to draw simultaneously from a single computer source, like a mainframe, without having to own one.
John McCarthy (September 4, 1927 – October 24, 2011) [ 2 ] was an American computer scientist and cognitive scientist . He coined the term " artificial intelligence " (AI), developed the Lisp programming language family, significantly influenced the design of the ALGOL programming language, popularized timesharing , and was very influential in the early development of AI. McCarthy received many accolades and honors, such as the Turing Award for his contributions to the topic of AI, the United States National Medal of Science , and the Kyoto Prize .
Lisp (historically, LISP ) is a family of computer programming languages with a long history and a distinctive, fully parenthesized Polish prefix notation. [ 1 ] Originally specified in 1958, Lisp is the second-oldest high-level programming language in widespread use today; only Fortran is older (by one year). Like Fortran, Lisp has changed a great deal since its early days, and a number of dialects have existed over its history. Today, the most widely known general-purpose Lisp dialects are Common Lisp and Scheme . Lisp was originally created as a practical mathematical notation for computer programs, influenced by the notation of Alonzo Church 's lambda calculus .
In computer science , garbage collection ( GC ) is a form of automatic memory management . The garbage collector , or just collector , attempts to reclaim garbage , or memory occupied by objects that are no longer in use by the program . Garbage collection was invented by John McCarthy around 1959 to solve problems in Lisp . [ 1 ] [ 2 ] Garbage collection is often portrayed as the opposite of manual memory management , which requires the programmer to specify which objects to deallocate and return to the memory system. However, many systems use a combination of approaches, including other techniques such as stack allocation and region inference .
Artificial Intelligence ( AI ), a branch of computer science , is the study of intelligent systems (i.e. software, computers, robots, etc.). Alternatively, it may be defined as "the study and design of intelligent agents", [ 1 ] where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success. [ 2 ] John McCarthy , who coined the term in 1955, [ 3 ] defines it as "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines". [ 4 ] AI research is highly technical and specialised, deeply divided into subfields that often fail to communicate with each other. [ 5 ] Some of the division is due to social and cultural factors: subfields have grown up around particular institutions and the work of individual researchers.
The Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence was the name of a 1956 undertaking now considered the seminal event for artificial intelligence as a field. [ edit ] People Organised by John McCarthy (then at Dartmouth College ) and formally proposed by McCarthy, Marvin Minsky , Nathaniel Rochester and Claude Shannon , the proposal is credited with introducing the term 'artificial intelligence'. [ edit ] Founding statement The project lasted a month, and it was essentially an extended brainstorming session. The introduction states:
Next: About this document J. McCarthy, Dartmouth College M. L.
In artificial intelligence , the frame problem was initially formulated as the problem of expressing a dynamical domain in logic without explicitly specifying which conditions are not affected by an action. John McCarthy and Patrick J. Hayes defined this problem in their 1969 article, Some Philosophical Problems from the Standpoint of Artificial Intelligence . Later, the term acquired a broader meaning in philosophy , where it is formulated as the problem of limiting the beliefs that have to be updated in response to actions.
The situation calculus is a logic formalism designed for representing and reasoning about dynamical domains. It was first introduced by John McCarthy in 1963. The main version of the situational calculus that is presented in this article is based on that introduced by Ray Reiter in 1991. It is followed by sections about McCarthy's 1986 version and a logic programming formulation.
Circumscription is a non-monotonic logic created by John McCarthy to formalize the common sense assumption that things are as expected unless otherwise specified. Circumscription was later used by McCarthy in an attempt to solve the frame problem . In its original first-order logic formulation, circumscription minimizes the extension of some predicates, where the extension of a predicate is the set of tuples of values the predicate is true on.
The McCarthy 91 function is a recursive function , defined by the computer scientist John McCarthy as a test case for formal verification within computer science . The McCarthy 91 function is defined as The results of evaluating the function are given by M ( n ) = 91 for all integer arguments n ≤ 100, and M ( n ) = n − 10 for n ≥ 101.