Honorary degree citation - John McCarthy*
By: John McKay, June 1994
Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you John McCarthy, a scientist who has made fundamental contributions to computer science and to artificial intelligence.
John McCarthy is Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University. He obtained his Bachelor of Science at Caltech in 1948 and his Ph.D. at Princeton in 1951. He has been involved in artificial intelligence since coining the term in 1955. He received the Turing award of the Association for Computing Machinery in 1971 and was elected President of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence for 1983-84. He received the first Research Excellence Award of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in 1985, and in 1988 he received the Kyoto Prize. In 1990 he was awarded the National Medal of Science. His main artificial intelligence research area has been the formalization of common sense knowledge. In 1958 he invented the programing language LISP, he developed the concept of time-sharing in the late fifties and early sixties, and has worked since then on proving that computer programs meet their specifications. In 1960 he co-authored the ALGOL 60 report. He invented the circumscription method of non-monotonic reasoning in 1978 as part of his interest in formalizing common sense.
Il ne fait aucun doute que les concepts que nous avons des limites du calcul et des moyens d'aborder ces limites sont à jamais liés au travail de pionnier accompli par John McCarthy.
Mr. Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, John McCarthy, so that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.