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India and the twins


From a house of twins to a house of twins
W Daniel Hillis Scientist
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But the other funny thing was we lived in a house where... when they were really young identical twins, we had moved into a house for another set of identical twins, which were a set of little girls at the time we moved in. And we got the house from them because they actually sort of couldn't afford to buy the house themselves, they'd been renting it. And they were child actresses, but then they later actually did pretty well. They were the Olsen twins. And they became billionaires and they would come back and visit the house later, but everybody thought it was funny that we were going from a house of twins to a house of twins.

W Daniel Hillis (b. 1956) is an American inventor, scientist, author and engineer. While doing his doctoral work at MIT under artificial intelligence pioneer, Marvin Minsky, he invented the concept of parallel computers, that is now the basis for most supercomputers. He also co-founded the famous parallel computing company, Thinking Machines, in 1983 which marked a new era in computing. In 1996, Hillis left MIT for California, where he spent time leading Disney’s Imagineers. He developed new technologies and business strategies for Disney's theme parks, television, motion pictures, Internet and consumer product businesses. More recently, Hillis co-founded an engineering and design company, Applied Minds, and several start-ups, among them Applied Proteomics in San Diego, MetaWeb Technologies (acquired by Google) in San Francisco, and his current passion, Applied Invention in Cambridge, MA, which 'partners with clients to create innovative products and services'. He holds over 100 US patents, covering parallel computers, disk arrays, forgery prevention methods, and various electronic and mechanical devices (including a 10,000-year mechanical clock), and has recently moved into working on problems in medicine. In recognition of his work Hillis has won many awards, including the Dan David Prize.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes George Dyson

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen

Duration: 52 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2016

Date story went live: 05 July 2017