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Issue No.04 - October-December (2011 vol.33)
pp: 5-16
Ronald R. Kline , Cornell University
ABSTRACT
<p>The Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence, held at Datrmouth College in 1956, is regarded as the official "birthplace" of AI. This article draws on unpublished archives to shed new light on the origins of the conference and the complex relationships between cybernetics, automata studies, and AI in the 1950s.</p>
INDEX TERMS
History of computing, artificial intelligence, cybernetics, automata studies, Claude Shannon, John McCarthy, Rockefeller Foundation
CITATION
Ronald R. Kline, "Cybernetics, Automata Studies, and the Dartmouth Conference on Artificial Intelligence", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.33, no. 4, pp. 5-16, October-December 2011, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2010.44
REFERENCES
1. See, for example, J. Moor, "The Dartmouth College Artificial Intelligence Conference: The Next Fifty Years," AI Magazine, 27, no. 4, 2006, pp. 87–91; P. McCorduck, Machines Who Think, W.H. Freeman 1979, ch. 5; P. Edwards, , Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America, MIT Press, 1996, p. 239; and R. Cordeschi, The Discovery of the Artificial: Behavior, Mind, and Machines Before and Beyond Cybernetics, Dordrecht, 2002, pp. 155, 174.
2. McCorduck, Machines Who Think, pp. 96, 109–110.
3. McCorduck, Machines Who Think, pp. 95–96; and A.L. Norberg, "An Interview with Allen Newell," 10–12 June 1991, Oral History Collection, Charles Babbage Inst., Univ. of Minnesota (hereafter CBI Oral History), p. 116.
4. R.R. Kline, "Where Are the Cyborgs in Cybernetics?" Social Studies of Science, vol. 33, no. 3, 2009, pp. 335–336.
5. S.J. Heims, The Cybernetics Group, MIT Press, 1991.
6. N. Wiener, Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, Technology Press, 1948, pp. 193–194.
7. Cordeschi, Discovery of the Artificial, pp. 155–163.
8. F. Conway and J. Siegelman, Dark Hero of the Information Age: In Search of Norbert Wiener, the Father of Cybernetics, Basic Books, 2005, p. 175; McCorduck, Machines Who Think, p. 84; A.L. Norberg, "An Interview with Marvin L. Minsky," 1 Nov. 1989, CBI Oral History, pp. 10–12; H. Crowther-Heyck, Herbert A. Simon: The Bounds of Reason in Modern America, Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2005, pp. 189–192; and H. Crowther-Heyck, "Defining the Computer: Herbert Simon and the Bureaucratic Mind—Part 2," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 30, no. 2, 2008, p. 53.
9. M. Minsky ed., Semantic Information Processing, MIT Press, 1968, p. 7.
10. A. Newell, "Intellectual Issues in the History of Artificial Intelligence," The Study of Information: Interdisciplinary Messages, F. Machlup, and U. Mansfield eds., John Wiley, 1983, pp. 191, 201.
11. See, for example, McCorduck, Machines Who Think, ch. 4; Edwards, Closed World,, ch. 8; and Cordeschi, Discovery of the Artificial, ch. 5.
12. W. Aspray, "The Scientific Conceptualization of Information: A Survey," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 7, no. 2, 1985, pp. 117–140.
13. C. Shannon, "Programming a Computer for Playing Chess," 1950, reprinted in Shannon, Collected Papers, N.J.A. Sloane, and A.D. Wyner eds., IEEE Press, 1993, pp. 637–656; C. Shannon to N. Wiener 13 Oct. 1948, Norbert Wiener Papers, Inst. Archives, MIT (hereafter Wiener Papers), box 6-85; C. Shannon to N. Wiener 14 Feb. 1949, Wiener Papers, box 6-91; E. Coleman to N. Wiener 12 May 1950, Wiener Papers, box 8-117; C. Shannon to W. McCulloch, 2 June 1949, Warren McCulloch Papers, Am. Philosophical Soc. (hereafter McCulloch Papers), Shannon correspondence; and C. Shannon, "Presentation of a Maze-Solving Machine," 1952, reprinted in Shannon, Collected Papers, pp. 681–687.
14. Heims, Cybernetics Group, especially pp. 11, 75, 76, 78, 111–112, 221.
15. C. Shannon, "Cybernetics," Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 6, 1957, p. 916, and N. Wiener to W. Yust 30 Aug. 1954, Wiener Papers, box 14-199.
16. McCorduck, Machines Who Think, pp. 94, 96–97.
17. C. Shannon, and J. McCarthy to N. Wiener 19 May 1953, Wiener Papers, box 12-173. D. MacKay to J. McCarthy 9 Oct. 1953; W.G. Walter to C. Shannon, and J. McCarthy 11 June 1953; J. von Neumann to C. Shannon, and J. McCarthy, 15 June 1953; and W.R. Ashby to J. McCarthy 16 June 1954—all in Claude Shannon Papers, Library of Congress (hereafter Shannon Papers), box 1. On von Neumann's theory of automata, see W. Aspray, , John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing, MIT Press, 1990, ch. 8.
18. A. Turing to C. Shannon, 3 June 1953, Shannon Papers, box 1; and A. Hodges, Alan Turing: The Enigma, Simon and Shuster, 1983. For my research, I used the reprinted edition of Hodges'Alan Turing by Walker, 2000, pp. 249–251, 441.
19. S.C. Kleene to C. Shannon, and J. McCarthy, 29 May 1954, and A. Uttley to J. McCarthy 20 Oct. 1953, both in Shannon Papers, box 1.
20. McCorduck, Machines Who Think, p. 94.
21. N. Wiener to C. Brinton4 Mar. 1954, Wiener Papers, box 13-189.
22. P., Husbands and O. Holland, "The Ratio Club: A Hub of British Cybernetics," The Mechanical Mind in History, P. Husbands, O. Holland, and M. Wheeler, eds., MIT Press, 2008, ch. 6, p. 90, 93.
23. A. Turing to C. Shannon3 June 1953, Shannon Papers, box 1.
24. J. McCarthy to C. Shannon, 5 Apr. 1954, Shannon Papers, box 1; and D. MacKay, "The Epistemological Problem for Automata," Automata Studies, C. Shannon, and J. McCarthy eds., Princeton Univ. Press, 1956, pp. 235–251.
25. W.R. Ashby, "Design for an Intelligence Amplifier," Automata Studies, pp. 215–234; P.M. Asaro, "From Mechanisms of Adaptation to Intelligent Amplifiers: The Philosophy of W. Ross Ashby," Mechanical Mind in History,, ch. 7; and A. Pickering, "Cybernetics and the Mangle: Ashby, Beer, and Pask," Social Studies of Science, vol. 32, no. 3, 2002, pp. 413–437.
26. W.R. Ashby to J. McCarthy16 June 1954, Shannon Papers, box 1.
27. D. MacKay to J. McCarthy, 9 Oct. 1953, and J. McCarthy to C. Shannon11 Aug. 1954, both in Shannon Papers, box 1.
28. C. Shannon,, "Computers and Automata," 1953, reprinted in Shannon, Collected Papers, pp. 703–710; and C. Shannon, "Von Neumann's Contributions to Automata Theory," 1958, reprinted in Shannon, Collected Papers, p. 831.
29. J. McCarthy to C. Shannon11 Aug. 1954, Shannon Papers, box 1.
30. M. Minsky to C. Shannon 18 Jan. 1954 [1955], Shannon Papers, box 1.
31. Shannon,, "Computers and Automata," p. 709.
32. J. McCarthy to C. Shannon 24 Nov. 1954, Shannon Papers, box 1.
33. J. McCarthy to C. Shannon, "Preface," Automata Studies, p. v.
34. C. Shannon to I. Angus 8 Aug. 1952, Shannon Papers, box 1.
35. J. McCarthy to C. Shannon 24 Nov. 1954, Shannon Papers, box 1.
36. J. McCarthy to C. Shannon 18 Feb. 1955, Shannon Papers, box 1.
37. W. Weaver diary, 4 Apr. 1955, Rockefeller Foundation Archives (hereafter RF-Dartmouth File), record group 1.0002, series 200, box 26, folder 219.
38. W. Weaver to John McCarthy, 7 June 1955, RF-Dartmouth File.
39. D.A. Mindell, , Between Human and Machine: Feedback, Control, and Computing before Cybernetics, Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2002, pp. 170–174.
40. W. Weaver to Robert Morison, 14 June 1955, RF-Dartmouth File; and C. Shannon, and W. Weaver, The Mathematical Theory of Communication, Univ. of Illinois Press, 1949, pp. 93–117.
41. R. Morison diary, 17 June 1955, RF-Dartmouth File. On Selfridge and the other young researchers in Wiener's group, see Conway and Siegelman, Dark Hero of the Information Age, pp. 142–143, 201–204.
42. P. Husbands, "An Interview with Oliver Selfridge," Mechanical Mind in History, ch. 17, p. 399.
43. McCorduck, Machines Who Think, pp. 79–80; R. Morison, "Amendment of Grant in Aid GA NSA 5416 and Extension GA BMR 5607 to the University of London, King's College, England," 15 Feb. 1957; and "Research Report, 1954:55 D. M. MacKay, Information Systems Group," attached to MacKay to Morison, 21 Nov. 1955. Both documents are in Rockefeller Foundation Archives (hereafter RF-MacKay), record group 1.2, series 401, box 19, folder 179.
44. R. Morison diary, 17 June 1955, RF-Dartmouth File.
45. W. Aspray, "An Interview with John McCarthy," 2 Mar. 1989, CBI Oral History, p. 8.
46. J. McCarthy to R. Morison 2 Sept. 1955, RF-Dartmouth File.
47. Edwards, Closed World, p. 253.
48. J. McCarthy et al., "A Proposal for the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence," 31 Aug. 1955, RF-Dartmouth File, pp. 1–3; introduction reprinted in AI Magazine, vol. 27, Winter 2006, pp. 12–14.
49. McCarthy et al., "A Proposal for the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence," pp. 6, 7, 16, 17.
50. R. Morison to J. McCarthy 22 Sept. 1955, RF-Dartmouth File.
51. J. McCarthy to C. Shannon 7 Nov. 1955, Shannon Papers, box 1.
52. R. Morison to J. McCarthy 30 Nov. 1955, RF-Dartmouth File.
53. J. McCarthy to R. Morison 8 Dec. 1955. On the revised budget, see D. Morrison to R. Morison 19 Dec. 1955. Both letters are in RF-Dartmouth File.
54. McCorduck, Machines Who Think, pp. 132–, 135, and Crowther-Heyck, Herbert A. Simon, ch. 10.
55. H. Simon to C. Shannon 21 Feb. 1956, Shannon Papers, box 2.
56. J. McCarthy to N. Rochester, C. Shannon, and M. Minsky, 23 Feb. 1956, Shannon Papers, box 2; and A. Newell, and H. Simon, "Plans for the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence," 6 Mar. 1956, Simon Papers, box 38, CMU, Problem Solving Paper 9.
57. C. Shannon to H. Simon 24 Apr. 1956, Shannon Papers, box 2.
58. "An Interview with Allen Newell," p. 12. I have found no documentation of these exchanges.
59. J. McCarthy to R. Morison 25 May 1955, RF-Dartmouth File.
60. D. MacKay to W. McCulloch, 23 Jul. 1956, McCulloch Papers, MacKay Correspondence; and D. MacKay to W. Weaver 26 June 1956, RF-MacKay.
61. P., Husbands, "An Interview with John Holland," Mechanical Mind in History, p. 389.
62. "An Interview with Allen Newell," p. 12, and McCorduck, Machines Who Think, p. 94.
63. "[Interview with] Bernard Widrow," Talking Nets: An Oral History of Neural Networks, J.A. Anderson and E. Rosenfeld eds., MIT Press, 1998, ch. 3, p. 49.
64. J. McCarthy to [R. Morison], 18 Nov. 1956, RF-Dartmouth File.
65. J. McCarthy to R. Morison 3 Sept. 1956, RF-Dartmouth File.
66. H. Simon interview by P. McCorduck, 6 Nov. 1974, Simon Papers, box 79, transcript 2, p. 17; and McCorduck, Machines Who Think, p. 108.
67. C. Shannon, "The Zero Capacity for a Noisy Channel," 1956, reprinted in Shannon, Collected Papers, pp. 221–238.
68. S. Welch Dartmouth College, financial report to Rockefeller Foundation, 7 Feb. 1957; and R. Steel to S. Welch 15 Feb. 1957. Both are in RF-Dartmouth File.
69. R. Morison diary, 8 May 1957, RF-Dartmouth File. On the conference proposal, see M. Minsky, and O. Selfridge to P.M. Woodward 11 Feb. 1957, attached to R. Morison to W. Weaver n.d., RF-Dartmouth File.
70. R. Anderson to O. Selfridge 10 June 1957, RF-Dartmouth File.
71. Cordeschi, Discovery of the Artificial, p. 187.
72. M. Minsky,, "Some Methods of Artificial Intelligence and Heuristic Programming," Mechanisation of Thought Processes, proc. 1958 symp. held at the Nat'l Physical Lab., vol. 1, HMSO, 1959, pp. 3–26.
73. John McCarthy, "[Review of] Bloomfield, Brian, ed. The Question of Artificial Intelligence… ," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 10, 1988, p. 227.
74. M. Olazarin, "A Sociological Study of the Official History of the Perceptrons Controversy," Social Studies of Science, vol. 26, no. 3, 1996, pp. 611–659.
75. Kline, "Where Are the Cyborgs in Cybernetics," p. 353.
76. See, for example, Cordeschi, Discovery of the Artificial; Husbands, Holland, and Wheeler, eds., Mechanical Mind in History; and A. Mueller, and K. Mueller eds., , An Unfinished Revolution? Heinz von Foerster and the Biological Computer Laboratory, BCL, 1958–1976, Echoraum, 2007.
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