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The small math community at Princeton


The first timeshared computer
Marvin Minsky Scientist
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Our friend Fredkin, who encouraged a digital equipment company to give him a PDP-1... that was the first... that became the first time-shared computer, and that changed the whole world, because instead of punching a deck of cards and waiting till tomorrow to see what happened... Fredkin and McCarthy and a few other people around here connected typewriters up to real computers in real time, and that produced the hacker community who liked to do something and see the result right away.  And there was also a similar community in England - I don’t know much about them, but it was pretty much the same year that – I think it was in Cambridge, but I don't…

Marvin Minsky (1927-2016) was one of the pioneers of the field of Artificial Intelligence, founding the MIT AI lab in 1970. He also made many contributions to the fields of mathematics, cognitive psychology, robotics, optics and computational linguistics. Since the 1950s, he had been attempting to define and explain human cognition, the ideas of which can be found in his two books, The Emotion Machine and The Society of Mind. His many inventions include the first confocal scanning microscope, the first neural network simulator (SNARC) and the first LOGO 'turtle'.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: England, UK, Cambridge, Edward Fredkin, John McCarthy

Duration: 1 minute, 3 seconds

Date story recorded: 29-31 Jan 2011

Date story went live: 09 May 2011