John McCarthy: Father of Artificial Intelligence

  • John McCarthy born in Boston

    Born in Boston Massachusetts
  • Graduation

    McCarthy graduated from Belmont High School two years early.
  • Accepted to Caltech

    Wrote in statement that he "intended to be a professor of mathematics"
  • Graduated from Caltech

    Graduated from Caltech
    Graduated from Caltech with a BS in Mathematics after being suspended for not attending his physical education courses. Served in the US Army during his suspension and was allowed readmission.
  • Inspired by John Von Neumann

    Attended a lecture by John Von Neumann, inspiring him to think about and work with what was later named Artificial Intelligence.
  • Received his Ph.D in Mathematics at Princeton University

    Received his Ph.D in Mathematics at Princeton University
    Completed doctoral dissertation "Projection Operators and partial Differential Equations"
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    Princeton University Instructor of Mathematics

  • Worked for Bell Telephone Laboratories

    Worked for Bell Telephone Laboratories
    Worked with Claude Shannon to edit collection of papers on Machine intelligence
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    Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Dartmouth College

  • Officially coined the term "Artificial Intelligence"

    Officially coined the term "Artificial Intelligence"
    wrote proposal along with Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester, and Claude Shannon titled "A proposal for the Dartmouth summer research project on Artificial Intelligence" for the following summer. Beginning to serious work in this field.
  • Became a research fellow at MIT

    Became a research fellow at MIT
  • Principal organizer of first Dartmouth conference on AI

    Principal organizer of first Dartmouth conference on AI
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    Assistant Professor at MIT

    worked with Marvin Minsky to set up the Artificial Intelligence laboratory at MIT
  • Created computer programming Language LISP

    Created computer programming Language LISP
    LiSt Processing. Artificial Intelligence needed a new computer programming language. Based on lambda calculus with symbolic expressions rather than numbers. Used tree-data structures, dynamic typing, and self-hosting compiler. Allowed for great expansion of ideas in computer science, including interpreters that are written in the same language as the program itself. Today it's used in many natural language programs and research. Second oldest surviving language after FORTRAN.
  • Wrote paper Program with Common Sense

    Elaborated on his idea of artificial intelligence. He considered it "math with common sense". Named a hypothetical program "advice taker" using logic based data.
  • Developed Garbage Collection Technique

    This technique allowed pieces of computer code that are not needed by running computations, to be automatically removed from computer's random access memory. Added to LISP, and is used in many other programming languages. Helped to free memory.
  • Published paper Programs with Common Sense

    Mccarthy argued for the need for computers to perform commonsense reasoning if they are going to be considered intelligent. Controversial as issues with knowledge and reasoning have many exceptions, even in real life.
  • Proposed method of timesharing computer resources

    First to propose and design time-sharing computer systems, allowing computers to switch attention back and forth between tasks. Individual users could appear to have access to a mainframe computer. Became common in the 1960's and 70's.
  • ALGOL 60

    ALGOL 60
    McCarthy was involved in the committee that developed ALGOL 60. Used his "garbage" collection technique.
  • Became a professor at Stanford

    Became a professor at Stanford
    Remained there until his retirement in 2000. Referred to as "uncle John" by his students. Made many contributions while there, and had many students that he advised go on to make other developments in the field.
  • Developed timesharing system

    Developed timesharing system with J.C.R Licklider, Edward Fredkin, Bolt Beranek, and Newman. Helped inspire creation of project MAC.
  • Published Paper in Computer Programming and formal Systems titled A basis for a Mathematical Theory of Computation

    Included theories of conditional expressions, and uses, and methods of recursion induction for programming properties of recursively defined functions.
  • Became founding director of SAIL at Stanford

    Became founding director of SAIL at Stanford
    Research based in machine intelligence, interactive computing and autonomous vehicles.
  • First international chess match between two programs

    First international chess match between two programs
    Chess match between McCarthy's Kotok-McCarthy Chess Program of the United States, and the Soviet Union's Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics Kaissa Chess Program. In a 4 game match, McCarthy lost two games and tied two games. The games were played via telegraph.
  • Bet chess master David Levy a computer would beat him at chess within 10 years

    Bet chess master David Levy a computer would beat him at chess within 10 years
    Bet gained publicity, and involved more than $2000. McCarthy ended up losing the bet.
  • Published Some Philosophical Problems from the Standpoint of artificial intelligence

    Paper on situation Calculus
  • Proposed a paper about buying and selling on the computer, predicting e-commerce

    Proposed a paper about buying and selling on the computer, predicting e-commerce
    Predicted ecommerce decades before its implementation.
  • Awarded the Turing Prize

    Awarded the Turing Prize
    Awarded by the Association for Computing Machinery, USA, similar to Nobel Prize but for computer scientists. Awarded for his work on Artificial Intelligence.
  • Stanford AI Laboratory gains national attention with SPACEWAR article

    Stanford AI Laboratory gains national attention with SPACEWAR article
    SAIL received national attention after the Rolling Stone Magazine wrote an article about SPACEWAR called "SPACEWAR: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums"
  • Kyoto Prize

    Kyoto Prize
    Awarded the Kyoto Prize honoring individuals who have made significant contributions in the fields of science, technology, arts, and philosophy.
  • McCarthy invites the Homebrew Computer Club to meet at the Stanford AI Lab

    McCarthy invites the Homebrew Computer Club to meet at the Stanford AI Lab
    Demonstrated technology to the Homebrew Computer Club.
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    Developed the circumscription method of non-monotonic reasoning

  • Wrote article titled Ascribing Mental Qualities to Machines

    He proposed in this article that machines can be said to have their own beliefs, and having a belief is characteristic of most machines capable of problem-solving.
  • John Searle Responds to McCarthy's beliefs on AI

    Responded with his famous "Chinese Room Argument" believing that machines can't have beliefs because they aren't conscious, they lack understanding or intentionality.
  • Originated the idea of a "space fountain"

    Idea of a tower going up to space, kept vertical by force of stream of pellets along a conveyor belt.
  • Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    Became a member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • Member of National Academy of Engineering

    Became a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
  • Member of National Academy of Sciences

    Became a member of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Awarded the National Medal of Science

    Awarded the National Medal of Science
    Awarded for contributions to computer science and artificial intelligence.
  • Computer program successfully defeats world chess champion

    Computer program successfully defeats world chess champion
    McCarthy's 1968 determination that a computer program could beat the world chess champion was finally successful.
  • Retired from Stanford

    Retired from Stanford
  • wrote short story "The Robot and the Baby"

    Short story about whether robots should have emotions
  • Awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal by the Franklin Institute

    Awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal by the Franklin Institute
    Honors the greatest minds in science and engineering
  • Philosophy of Information public lecture in Amsterdam

  • Inducted into the AI Hall of Fame

  • Named as one of Stanford's Engineering Heroes

  • Death

    Death
    Passed away in Stanford, California at the age of 84.
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  • Stanford University celebration of John's accomplishments in computer science and AI

    Stanford University celebration of John's accomplishments in computer science and AI
    Celebration of John McCarthy's acheivements in computer science and Artificial Intelligence during AAAI spring Symposium.