Exhibits At the Museum

This Day in History

Today: October 31, 2014
John McCarthy

September 4, 1927

AI Pioneer McCarthy Born

John McCarthy, whose many contributions to the field of computer science included the language LISP, is born in Boston. After attending Cal Tech and Princeton University, McCarthy developed LISP -- the first computer language designed for writing Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs -- while a professor at MIT. He taught at Stanford University for most of his career.

LISP made great strides in providing a flexibility of information essential for AI programming, a result that pleased McCarthy, who once said: “We should try to make AI systems as good as children.”

McCarthy is a 1999 Computer History Museum Fellow.