On this day in 1927 cognitive scientist and computer pioneer Marvin Minsky was born. Minsky was born in New York City and received a B.A. in mathematics from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University. He joined the staff at MIT in 1958 where he and his colleague John McCarthy founded the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
Throughout his career he made many significant contributions in computer science particularly in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), cognitive psychology, computational linguistics, robotics and optics. Among his many inventions are the head-mounted graphical display, the confocal microscope, the first LOGO “turtle” and the first randomly wired neural network learning machine, the Stochastic Neural Analog Reinforcement Calculator or SNARC. He also authored a number of influential books, including The Society of Mind, Perceptrons and The Emotion Machine.
Minsky earned several awards and recognitions during his lifetime, some of the most notable being the Turing Award, which is the greatest distinction in computer science, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Franklin Institute. In 2006, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Computer History Museum “for co-founding the field of artificial intelligence, creating early neural networks and robots, and developing theories of human and machine cognition.”
Minsky died in January 24, 2016 at the age of 88.
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