RIP John McCarthy, Creator of LISP

Wednesday Oct 26th 2011 by Cynthia Harvey
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The 84-year-old computer scientist was best known for his contributions to artificial intelligence research.

On Monday, John McCarthy died at the age of 84. A Stanford University professor for nearly four decades, McCarthy coined the term "artificial intelligence" and created the LISP programming language. He also played a major role in the development of computer time-sharing systems.

"[McCarthy] really encapsulated what computation meant," says Google's Peter Norvig. "To some extent, that had been done before. People like Turing had a mathematical way of defining computing. But he was the first one to really put the essence of computing into a simple programming language, and that had a big effect on a lot of people."

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