John McCarthy (1927 - 2011)
The business of AI This week the man often called the father of artificial intelligence died. John McCarthy is credited with coining the term artificial intelligence in a 1955 research proposal where he argued: “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”. McCarthy was a visionary, who in 1961 suggested that "computing may someday be organised as a public utility, just as the telephone system is a public utility". But it was artificial intelligence, not cloud computing, that he devoted his work to, inventing the programming language Lisp in the fifties, which enabled the development of voice recognition technology, now seen on a grand scale in Siri, the personal assistant application on the iPhone 4S.
There are two important concepts first articulated by Prof. John McCarthy of Stanford University, neither of which actually imply that computers will ever evolve to become intelligent, rational creatures. One is that electronic machines can learn functions and processes. Throughout the 56 years since this concept was introduced, it has been declared an undeniable fact numerous times, only for someone to subsequently reposition the qualifications bar for "learning." The other is that artificial intelligence (AI) is implied by any process which, when done well and correctly, appears to have required human intelligence. John McCarthy (1927 - 2011), Believer in Humanity
John McCarthy, 1927-2011
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. (Remembering (John (McCarthy (1927 - 2011))))
John McCarthy, in Memoriam
John McCarthy - Father of AI and Lisp - Dies at 84 John McCarthy, the man who coined the term 'artificial intelligence' 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.
Father of artificial intelligence dies at 84
John McCarthy, Pioneer in Artificial Intelligence, Dies at 84
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. John McCarthy was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 4, 1927 to an Irish immigrant father and a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant mother, John Patrick and Ida Glatt McCarthy. The family was obliged to relocate frequently during the Great Depression, until McCarthy's father found work as an organizer for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers in Los Angeles, California. John McCarthy
Lisp (programming language) The interchangeability of code and data also gives Lisp its instantly recognizable syntax. All program code is written as s-expressions, or parenthesized lists. A function call or syntactic form is written as a list with the function or operator's name first, and the arguments following; for instance, a function f that takes three arguments might be called using (f arg1 arg2 arg3). John McCarthy and Steve Russell
Garbage collection (computer science) 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. Garbage collection, like other memory management techniques, may take a significant proportion of total processing time in a program and can thus have significant influence on performance. The basic principles of garbage collection are: Find data objects in a program that cannot be accessed in the future.Reclaim the resources used by those objects.
AI research is highly technical and specialised, and is deeply divided into subfields that often fail to communicate with each other. Some of the division is due to social and cultural factors: subfields have grown up around particular institutions and the work of individual researchers. AI research is also divided by several technical issues. Some subfields focus on the solution of specific problems. Artificial intelligence
Dartmouth Conferences 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. People Founding statement The project lasted a month, and it was essentially an extended brainstorming session. The introduction states: (McCarthy et al. 1955) 
A Proposal for the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence Next: About this document J. McCarthy, Dartmouth College M. L.
In artificial intelligence, the frame problem describes an issue with using First Order Logic (FOL) to express facts about a robot in the world. Representing the state of a robot with traditional FOL requires the use of many axioms that simply imply that things in the environment don't change arbitrarily. For example, Hayes describes a blocks world with rules about putting blocks on top of each other. In a FOL system additional axioms are required to infer facts such as a block does not change position if it's not moved. Frame problem
Overview The situation calculus represents changing scenarios as a set of first-order logic formulae. The basic elements of the calculus are: A domain is formalized by a number of formulae, namely: Situation calculus
Circumscription (logic) The original problem considered by McCarthy was that of missionaries and cannibals: there are three missionaries and three cannibals on one bank of a river; they have to cross the river using a boat that can only take two, with the additional constraint that cannibals must never outnumber the missionaries on either bank (as otherwise the missionaries would be killed and, presumably, eaten). The problem considered by McCarthy was not that of finding a sequence of steps to reach the goal (the article on the missionaries and cannibals problem contains one such solution), but rather that of excluding conditions that are not explicitly stated. For example, the solution “go half a mile south and cross the river on the bridge” is intuitively not valid because the statement of the problem does not mention such a bridge.
McCarthy 91 function 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. History