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Tech Pioneer and Newsgroup Subscriber John McCarthy Passes Away
By thundernewsgroups October 27th, 2011

Computer scientist John McCarthy, who is one of the fathers of artificial intelligence and even coined the term, died Sunday at the age of 84.

A pioneer and thought leader in areas such as artificial intelligence and ‘utility computing’, which in many ways maps to the ever popular ‘cloud computing’ offerings of today, John McCarthy’s work has had a significant impact on many aspects of the day to day activities of computer programmers and IT professionals alike, especially those regarding USENET newsgroups.

McCarthy designed the LISP programming language in 1958 while a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lisp, one of the oldest high-level programming languages second only to Fortran, is still in use today.

Tributes to McCarthy poured in Tuesday, some from posters on Usenet, where McCarthy had an active presence.

McCarthy received the Turing Award in 1971 for his major contributions to the field of AI.

He was born in Boston on September 4, 1927 to an Irish immigrant father and a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant mother.

McCarthy showed an early aptitude for mathematics and he taught himself mathematics by studying the textbooks used at the nearby California Institute of Technology

McCarthy, who retired from Stanford in 2000, was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.


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