Tuesday, 25 October 2011

I.T.: Farewell John McCarthy

4 September 1927 - 24 October 2011

Farewell to Professor John McCarthy, inventor of LISP and major contributor in the field of Artificial Intelligence. (From Wikipedia: "He was responsible for the coining of the term "Artificial Intelligence" in his 1955 proposal for the 1956 Dartmouth Conference and was the inventor of the Lisp programming language.")

I remember years ago programming in LISP at University, it was amazing. Having been brought up with BASIC, COBOL and then Pascal, being introduced to LISP, Prolog and Artifical Intelligence in the late 1980's was simply awesome.

Unfortunately I've forgotten most of what I've learnt with regard to AI programming, maybe it's time to revisit?

Maybe it's also time to think about the computer scientists of the 50's, 60's and 70's. The ideas they had, the languages they created and the inspiration they instilled for generations of programmers.  I'm sure that the developers of Siri, many moons ago, dabbled in LISP, maybe read a paper or two from Professor McCarthy, maybe that's where their interest in AI came from?

When moving forward, it's always a good idea to look back once in a while, just to see whose footprints you've walked in.