John McCarthy, best known for coining the term artificial intelligence and inventing the programming language Lisp, died on Oct. 23. He was 84 years old.



John McCarthy

His death was announced by Stanford University, where he served as a faculty member for nearly four decades.

A research proposal McCarthy wrote in 1955 first outlined the AI conceptually, bring the very notion of self-determined computers to reality.

An attempt will be made to find how to make machines use language, form abstractions and concepts, solve kinds of problems now reserved for humans, and improve themselves, he wrote.

The three years later, McCarthy invented Lisp while at MIT. The programming language is still in use today.

McCarthy was born in Boston in 1927 and was self-taught in mathematics. He eventually enrolled at Caltech, and got his Ph.D in mathematics from Princeton.

McCarthy enjoyed a long spell as a member of Stanford's faculty, from 1962 to 2000.