September 4th, 1927- October 24th
John McCarthy, creator of Lisp dies
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American computer scientist John McCarty has died at the age of
An natural mathematician, McCarthy started his professional career at Princeton before moving on to Stanford, Dartmouth and MIT. It was at the latter where he picked up the affectionate title of Uncle John. In 1962 McCarty returned to Stanford where he finally settled, going full time as a Professor at all they way until his retirement in 2000.
Maths and logic were the focus of most of his work, which
culminated in him receiving the Turing award in 1971 for major
contributions in the field of AI, a term which he originally
coined. As the inventor of Lispin programming language, which went
on to become the language of choice for Artificial Intelligence
after its publication in the 60s, his contribution in Artificial
Intelligence is immeasurable.
In many ways a visionary thinker, McCarthy's insight into the application of computing technology was deep, even predicting the advent of things such as Cloud computing as far back as 1961 by suggesting that computer time-sharing technology might lead to a future where applications could be sold through the utility business model.
A regular contributor on Usenet groups, McCarthy remained active in the community until his last.