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  1950s: The Beginnings of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research

With the development of the electronic computer in 1941 and the stored program computer in 1949 the conditions for research in artificial intelligence (AI) were given. Still, the observation of a link between human intelligence and machines was not widely observed until the late 1950s.

A discovery that influenced much of the early development of AI was made by Norbert Wiener. He was one of the first to theorize that all intelligent behavior was the result of feedback mechanisms. Mechanisms that could possibly be simulated by machines. A further step towards the development of modern AI was the creation of The Logic Theorist. Designed by Newell and Simon in 1955 it may be considered the first AI program.

The person who finally coined the term artificial intelligence and is regarded as the father of AI is John McCarthy. In 1956 he organized a conference "The Dartmouth summer research project on artificial intelligence" to draw the talent and expertise of others interested in machine intelligence for a month of brainstorming. In the following years AI research centers began forming at the Carnegie Mellon University as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and new challenges were faced: 1) the creation of systems that could efficiently solve problems by limiting the search and 2) the construction of systems that could learn by themselves.

One of the results of the intensified research in AI was a novel program called The General Problem Solver, developed by Newell and Simon in 1957 (the same people who had created The Logic Theorist). It was an extension of Wiener's feedback principle and capable of solving a greater extent of common sense problems. While more programs were developed a major breakthrough in AI history was the creation of the LISP (LISt Processing) language by John McCarthy in 1958. It was soon adopted by many AI researchers and is still in use today.

browse Report:
Slave and Expert Systems
    Introduction: The Substitution of Human Faculties with Technology: Early Tools
-3   1940s - Early 1950s: First Generation Computers
-2   1950: The Turing Test
-1   1940s - 1950s: The Development of Early Robotics Technology
0   1950s: The Beginnings of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research
+1   Late 1950s - Early 1960s: Second Generation Computers
+2   1961: Installation of the First Industrial Robot
+3   Late 1960s - Early 1970s: Third Generation Computers
1980s: Artificial Intelligence (AI) - From Lab to Life
The MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is a privately controlled coeducational institution of higher learning famous for its scientific and technological training and research. It was chartered by the state of Massachusetts in 1861 and became a land-grant college in 1863. During the 1930s and 1940s the institute evolved from a well-regarded technical school into an internationally known center for scientific and technical research. In the days of the Great Depression, its faculty established prominent research centers in a number of fields, most notably analog computing (led by Vannevar Bush) and aeronautics (led by Charles Stark Draper). During World War II, MIT administered the Radiation Laboratory, which became the nation's leading center for radar research and development, as well as other military laboratories. After the war, MIT continued to maintain strong ties with military and corporate patrons, who supported basic and applied research in the physical sciences, computing, aerospace, and engineering. MIT has numerous research centers and laboratories. Among its facilities are a nuclear reactor, a computation center, geophysical and astrophysical observatories, a linear accelerator, a space research center, supersonic wind tunnels, an artificial intelligence laboratory, a center for cognitive science, and an international studies center. MIT's library system is extensive and includes a number of specialized libraries; there are also several museums.