Computer Scientist Coined “Artificial Intelligence”

John McCarthy helped found the study of artificial intelligence, named the discipline and spent decades making computers understand things that for humans are common sense.

He devised the programming language Lisp, a favored tool of software developers for more than a half-century.

Mr. McCarthy, who died Monday at age 84, brought a mathematician’s rigor to computing. “He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense,” he wrote in a 1995 paper.

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