Dartmouth Conferences

Dartmouth Conferences

Dartmouth Conferences

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The Dartmouth Summer Research Conference on Artificial Intelligence was the name of a conference now considered the seminal event for artificial intelligence as a field. The conference occurred in 1956. It was organised by John McCarthy (then at Dartmouth College) and formally proposed by McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester and Claude Shannon. Their proposal is credited with introducing the term 'artificial intelligence'.

The conference lasted a month, and it was essentially an extended brainstorming session.

Proposal contents

The proposal introduction states

We propose that a 2 month, 10 man study of artificial intelligence be carried out during the summer of 1956 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The study is to proceed on the basis of the conjecture that every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it. An attempt will be made to find how to make machines use language, form abstractions and concepts, solve kinds of problems now reserved for humans, and improve themselves. We think that a significant advance can be made in one or more of these problems if a carefully selected group of scientists work on it together for a summer.
(McCarthy et al. 1955)

The proposal goes on to discuss computers, natural language processing, neural networks, theory of computation, abstraction and creativity -- all still open research areas.


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