MINSKY, MARVIN / Technology / Researchers

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Technology / MINSKY, MARVIN



Marvin Minsky is Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.

Research interests

His research has led to both theoretical and practical advances in artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, neural networks, and the theory of Turing Machines and recursive functions. (In 1961 he solved Emil Post's problem of "Tag", and showed that any computer can be simulated by a machine with only two registers and instructions to increment, decrement and jump on zero.) He has made major contributions in the domains of symbolic graphical description, computational geometry, knowledge representation, computational semantics, machine perception, symbolic and connectionist learning. He has also been involved with many studies of advanced technologies for space exploration.

Professor Minsky was also one of the pioneers of intelligence-based mechanical robotics and telepresence. He designed and built some of the first mechanical hands with tactile sensors, visual scanners, and their software and computer interfaces. He also influenced many robotic projects outside of MIT, and designed and built the first LOGO "turtle."

Prizes and awards

Turing Award, Association for Computing Machinery, 1970
Doubleday Lecturer, Smithsonian Institution, 1978
Messenger Lecturer, Cornell University, 1979
Dr. Honoris Causa, Free University of Brussels, 1986
Dr. Honoris Causa, Pine Manor College, 1987
Killian Award, MIT, 1989
Japan Prize Laureate, 1990
Research Excellence Award, IJCAI 1991
Joseph Priestly Award, 1995
Rank Prize, Royal Society of Medicine, 1995
R.W. Wood Prize, Optical Soc. of America, 2001
Benjamin Franklin Medal, Franklin Institute, 2001

Patents and inventions :
1951 SNARC: First Neural Network Simulator
1955 Confocal Scanning Microscope: U.S.Patent 3013467
1963 First head-mounted graphical display
1963 Concept of Binary-Tree Robotic Manipulator
1967 Serpentine Hydraulic Robot Arm (Boston Museum of Science)
1970 The "Muse" Musical Variations Synthesizer (with E. Fredkin)
1972 First LOGO "turtle" device (with S. Papert)


"Neural Nets and the Brain Model Problem," Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, 1954.

Computation: Finite and Infinite Machines, Prentice-Hall, 1967.

Semantic Information Processing, MIT Press, 1968.
Perceptrons, (with Seymour A. Papert), MIT Press, 1969 (Enlarged edition, 1988).

Artificial Intelligence, with Seymour Papert, Univ. of Oregon Press, 1972. Out of print.

Robotics, Doubleday, 1986. Edited collection of essays about robotics, with Introduction and Postscript by Minsky.

The Society of Mind, Simon and Schuster, 1987.

The Turing Option, with Harry Harrison, Warner Books, New York, 1992.

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