M. Minsky, computer visionary

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Marvin Minsky, 88, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who saw parallels in the functioning of the human brain and computers, died Sunday of a cerebral hemorrhage at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Minsky viewed the brain as a machine whose functioning can be studied and replicated in a computer, and he considered how machines might be endowed with common sense.

Daniela Rus, director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, said Dr. Minsky “helped create the vision of artificial intelligence as we know it today.”

Dr. Minsky joined MIT’s faculty in 1958, after earning degrees from Harvard and Princeton Universities. It was at Princeton that Dr. Minsky met colleague John McCarthy, and in 1959 the pair founded the MIT Artificial Intelligence Project, now known as MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. McCarthy is credited with coining the term “artificial intelligence.”

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