Marvin L. Minsky
Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, Emeritus
Program in Media Arts and Sciences
The Media Lab community mourns the loss of Professor Marvin Minsky, who passed away on Sunday, January 24, 2016. A memorial service is planned for later in 2016.
Philosopher and scientist Marvin Minsky is universally regarded as one of the world's leading authorities in the field of artificial intelligence, having made fundamental contributions in the sectors of robotics and computer-aided learning technologies. In recent years he worked chiefly on imparting to machines the human capacity for common-sense reasoning. His book Society of Mind is considered a basic text for exploring intellectual structure and function, and for understanding the diversity of the mechanisms interacting in intelligence and thought.
Minsky received his BA and PhD in mathematics from Harvard and Princeton, respectively. In 1951 he built the SNARC, the first neural network simulator. His other inventions include mechanical hands and other robotic devices, the confocal scanning microscope, the "Muse" synthesizer for musical variations (with E. Fredkin), and the first LOGO "turtle" (with S. Papert).