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Minsky Festschrift is Planned

The Media Lab will sponsor a "Society of Minds" symposium hosted by ABC's Hugh Downs and featuring writer Arthur C. Clarke in honor of the past and continuing contributions of Professor Marvin Minsky on October 18 starting at 8:30am in Kresge Auditorium.

The symposium will consist of the Misawa Lecture by Professor Minsky together with presentations and responses from his former students and current colleagues. Topics will range over the breadth of concerns to which Professor Minsky and his students have turned their talents. This is the second Misawa Lecture, the first having been presented by Alan Kay in October 1990.

During the morning session, there will be a presentation via satellite by Mr. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey and numerous other novels, and inventor of the synchronous communications satellite.

Other morning presenters will be Oliver Selfridge, an artificial intelligence pioneer whose early work inspired the first autonomous interface agent, the "Oliver;" John McCarthy, co-founder of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, organizer of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, professor of computer science at Stanford and proponent of the "logical" approach to AI; Seymour Papert, LEGO Professor of Learning Research at the Media Laboratory, co-author (with Minsky) of Perceptrons, and author of numerous other books on technology and education; Danny Bobrow, research fellow at Xerox Corporation; and Gerald Jay Sussman, builder of languages and machines, simulator of solar systems and circuits and an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

The afternoon session will feature presentations by Michael Hawley, recently appointed assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science and of media arts and sciences; David Waltz, vice president, computer science research, NEC Research Institute; Danny Hillis, founding scientist, Thinking Machines Corporation; Kenneth B. Haase, festschrift organizer and assistant professor of media arts and sciences; and Marvin Minsky, second Misawa Lecturer and Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences.

To register for the symposium, which is free of charge, contact the MIT Media Lab Office of Communications and Sponsor Relations at x3-0338 or send e-mail to

A version of this article appeared in the September 29, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 8).

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