Archive | September, 2012

John McCarthy – Computer Scientist

19 Sep

Most of us, from birth, have been on a continual course to obtain more intelligence.  A high IQ is not only a way to feed oneself – but also a pretty good way to let others know how intelligent you are. Just be careful, bragging about a high IQ may require you to prove it.

In any case there was a man who apparently became so full of smart that he ran out of smarts to what was he to do?  Lesser men would remain at that level, full of smarts..enjoying the station of reaching their intellectual capacity…not John McCarthy!

John McCarthy invented more “smarts”. That is right, in 1955, being plum full of smarts, John McCarthy coined the term “Artificial Intelligence” and he was just getting started…by the summer of 1956 gave birth to a new field of research science.  He developed the LISP programming language in 1960, to give others the power to create artificial intelligence. At MIT he fostered the idea of computer time sharing, which became very popular in the main frame computer world and  has been given new birth in today’s Cloud computing systems.  Amazingly he even developed new types of logical thought and processing tools used by every computer programmer today. Reviewing his life long work, there are few computer scientists that were as influential as John…and of course perhaps non as brilliant.

For his work he would receive the Turing Award, 1988 Kyoto Prize, the Benjamin Franklin Medal, and the 1990 National Medal of Science in Mathematical, Statistical, and Computational Sciences. I am also pretty sure he may have won a few high school science fairs and managed an “A” or two in his high school math classes.

John died in 2011. But before he did it is likely he may have programmed his brain into one of those time share computers at Stanford University. I say this because he still maintains his web page…and it is still under construction.