Formalizing Common Sense

In this phone interview that took place in front of an audience at OOPSLA 2008, Guy Steele spins a yarn with John McCarthy, the father of Lisp, attempting to find out some details surrounding the language inception in the 50’ and its later evolution.

John McCarthy has been involved in Artificial Intelligence since 1948, a term he coined in 1955. He has been mainly interested in formalization of common sense knowledge. He designed LISP in 1958 and developed the concept of time-sharing. Among others, he has received the Turing Award, the Research Excellence Award, and the Kyoto Prize.

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Starting in 1986, OOPSLA Conference has proven to be the cradle of many techniques and methodologies that have become mainstream over the years: OOP, Patterns, AOP, XP, Unit Testing, UML, Wiki, and Refactoring. Gaining its prestige with 3 academic tracks, OOPSLA Conference has managed to attract researchers, educators and developers every year. The event is sponsored by ACM.