May 7, 2021
This week in The History of AI at AIWS.net – MIT receives a $2.2 million grant in June 1963 from DARPA
This week in The History of AI at AIWS.net – MIT receives a $2.2 million grant in June 1963 from DARPA, which was used to fund project MAC. This project included the AI Group of Marvin Minsky and John McCarthy.
DARPA is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a research and development agency of the American Department of Defense. It was founded on orders of President Eisenhower on February 7, 1958. The agency is responsible for helping the military develop emerging technologies. DARPA became a major sponsor of AI development, an example being the Strategic Computing Initiative.
Marvin Minsky was an American cognitive and computer scientist. He penned the research proposal for the Dartmouth Conference, which coined the term “Artificial Intelligence”, and he was a participant in it when it was hosted in 1956. Minsky would also make significant contributions to artificial intelligence, both in the study of the field and in popular culture.
He won the Turing Award in 1969. John McCarthy was an American computer scientist. He, along with Minsky and others, co-wrote the proposal for the Dartmouth Conference, and participated in it. McCarthy also developed the Lisp programming language. He spent most of his career at Stanford after working at Dartmouth and MIT. McCarthy won the Turing Award in 1971.
The HAI initiative considers this development an event in the history of AI, due to this funding allowing pioneers of the field to further their work and research. Most notably, MIT, Minsky, and McCarthy have contributed much to the advancement of artificial intelligence and other adjacent fields in computer science.