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>  News Releases >   2006 >   March

July Conference at Dartmouth Commemorates Golden Anniversary of 'Artificial Intelligence'

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 03/13/06 • Susan Knapp (603) 646-3661

AI@50, a conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of artificial intelligence - a field of research that was officially named by the 1956 Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence - will be held July 13-15 at Dartmouth. The conference will reunite four researchers who were at the original 1956 meeting, and will feature numerous current AI scholars from around the world.

Carey Heckman '76, James Moor, and Brock Brower '53
Carey Heckman '76, James Moor, and Brock Brower '53. Moor is director of "AI@50," and Heckman and Brower are steering committee members. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

"We expect to undertake a full exploration into the many emerging directions for future AI research, just as the College took the first steps to establish AI as a research discipline 50 years ago," said James Moor, professor and chair of philosophy and the director of AI@50.

The term "artificial intelligence" was first coined for the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence half a century ago. John McCarthy, then in Dartmouth's mathematics department, chose the name so that there would be no doubt about the dynamic, new scientific field's objective: to simulate human intelligence.

The 2006 conference at Dartmouth commemorates those pioneering efforts by examining AI's present status and its future. The major goal of AI@50 will be to define and measure future prospects for AI in society that is increasingly served by computer intellect.

"Because artificial intelligence touches so many aspects of our society, this conference holds promise for productive discussions about where the field is going, how it will get there, and what important technological discoveries and ethical decisions must be made along the way," said Dartmouth Provost Barry Scherr.

Many academic and scholarly discussions as well as events for the general public are being planned. Four speakers from the original 1956 conference will be on hand: John McCarthy, Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Stanford University; Marvin Minsky, the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ray Solomonoff, a visiting professor at the Computer Learning Research Centre at the University of London; and Oliver Selfridge, former Chief Scientist at GTE Laboratories in their Computer and Information Systems Laboratory.

"At the 1956 Dartmouth Artificial Intelligence Conference an audacious, outrageous even, intellectual zietgeist emerged: that the core of humanity, our ability to think and reason, was subject to our own technological understanding, a recursive formulation of our very nature. And the participants were right," said Rodney Brooks, the Panasonic Professor of Robotics and Director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).

"Dartmouth's AI@50 conference presents a great opportunity to explore long-term strategies for getting to AI@100," said Nils J. Nilsson, Kumagai Professor of Engineering, Emeritus in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University and member of the Stanford AI Laboratory (SAIL).

"AI@50 will be an opportunity to celebrate and reflect: to celebrate 50 successful years of research and to reflect both on what we have achieved and what our goals should be for the next 50 years," said Professor Alan Bundy, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh.

Further information, along with registration forms, are available at the AI@50 website:

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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