This week in The History of AI at AIWS.net – Judea Pearl receives the ACM Turing Award 2011
May 27, 2023
This week in The History of AI at AIWS.net – Edward Feigenbaum, Bruce G. Buchanan, Joshua Lederberg, and Carl Djerassi began work on Dendral in 1965. This was an AI project that later also became the first expert system.
Edward Feigenbaum is an American computer scientist focused on Artificial Intelligence. He studied at Carnegie Mellon University for both his B.S. and Ph.D., with Herbert Simon, an AI pioneer, as his doctoral advisor. He would go on to work at UC Berkeley and Stanford, the latter where he became Professor Emeritus of Computer Science (since 2000). Feigenbaum received the ACM Turing Award in 1994 with Raj Reddy for pioneering in AI and demonstrating its commercial potential.
Dendral was deveveloped at Stanford beginning in 1965, after the question “Can machines think?” became popularized. Led by Edward Feigenbaum, Bruce G. Buchanan, Joshua Lederberg, and Carl Djerassi, and assisted by associates and students, the project sought to study hypothesis formation and discovery in science. “Dendral” is a portmanteau of “Dendritic Algorithm”. Many expert systems that came after, such as XCON, were derived from Dendral.
The beginning of this project is considered an event in the history of AI due to the project itself contributing much to the development of AI. Dendral itself was both a culmination of past AI interests and the sparking of new ones. Thus, the HAI initiative sees the project as a marker in the history of AI.