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John McCarthy

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John McCarthy — giant of artificial intelligence

John McCarthy

John McCarthy (1927-2011) was a giant in the field of artificial intelligence. Credited with coining the term “artificial intelligence,” he subsequently went on to define the discipline for more than five decades from his professorship at Stanford.

McCarthy came to Stanford in 1953 as an assistant professor. He moved to Dartmouth and then MIT from 1955 to 1962, when he returned to Stanford for good as a full professor of computer science. He retired in January 2001.

In his career, McCarthy developed the programming language LISP, played computer chess via telegraph with opponents in Russia and invented computer time-sharing — an advance that greatly improved the efficiency of distributed computing and predated the era of cloud computing by decades.