John McCarthy (computer scientist)

John McCarthy (computer scientist) bigraphy, stories - American computer scientist

John McCarthy (computer scientist) : biography

04 September 1927 – 24 October 2011

John McCarthy (September 4, 1927 – October 24, 2011) 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.

Awards and honors

  • Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery (1971).
  • Kyoto Prize (1988).
  • National Medal of Science (USA) in Mathematical, Statistical, and Computational Sciences (1990).
  • Inducted as a Fellow of the Computer History Museum (1999)
  • Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science from the Franklin Institute (2003).
  • Inducted into IEEE Intelligent Systems’ AI’s Hall of Fame (2011), for the "significant contributions to the field of AI and intelligent systems". Press release source: PRWeb (Vocus).
  • Named as one of the 2012 Stanford Engineering Heroes.

Major publications

  • McCarthy, J. 1959. . In Proceedings of the Teddington Conference on the Mechanization of Thought Processes, 756-91. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.
  • McCarthy, J. 1960. . Communications of the ACM 3(4):184-195.
  • McCarthy, J. 1963a A basis for a mathematical theory of computation. In Computer Programming and formal systems. North-Holland.
  • McCarthy, J. 1963b. Situations, actions, and causal laws. Technical report, Stanford University.
  • McCarthy, J., and Hayes, P. J. 1969. . In Meltzer, B., and Michie, D., eds., Machine Intelligence 4. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 463-502.
  • McCarthy, J. 1977. Epistemological problems of artificial intelligence. In IJCAI, 1038-1044.
  • McCarthy, J. 1980. Circumscription: A form of non-monotonic reasoning. Artificial Intelligence 13(1-2):23-79.
  • McCarthy, J. 1986. Applications of circumscription to common sense reasoning. Artificial Intelligence 28(1):89-116.
  • McCarthy, J. 1990. Generality in artificial intelligence. In Lifschitz, V., ed., Formalizing Common Sense. Ablex. 226-236.
  • McCarthy, J. 1993. Notes on formalizing context. In IJCAI, 555-562.
  • McCarthy, J., and Buvac, S. 1997. Formalizing context: Expanded notes. In Aliseda, A.; van Glabbeek, R.; and Westerstahl, D., eds., Computing Natural Language. Stanford University. Also available as Stanford Technical Note STAN-CS-TN-94-13.
  • McCarthy, J. 1998. Elaboration tolerance. In Working Papers of the Fourth International Symposium on Logical formalizations of Commonsense Reasoning, Commonsense-1998.
  • Costello, T., and McCarthy, J. 1999. Useful counterfactuals. Electronic Transactions on Artificial Intelligence 3(A):51-76
  • McCarthy, J. 2002. Actions and other events in situation calculus. In Fensel, D.; Giunchiglia, F.; McGuinness, D.; and Williams, M., eds., Proceedings of KR-2002, 615-628.

Personal life and education

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.

McCarthy was exceptionally intelligent, and graduated from Belmont High School two years early.Woo, Elaine (October 28, 2011). . Los Angeles Times. He showed an early aptitude for mathematics; during his teens he taught himself college mathematics by studying the textbooks used at the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech). As a result, when McCarthy was accepted into Caltech in 1944, he was able to skip the first two years of mathematics.