Douglas Lenat

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Douglas B. Lenat (born in 1950) is the CEO of Cycorp, Inc. of Austin, Texas, and has been a prominent researcher in artificial intelligence, especially machine learning (with his AM and Eurisko programs), knowledge representation, blackboard systems, and "ontological engineering" (with his Cyc program at MCC and at Cycorp). He has also worked in military simulations and published a critique of conventional random-mutation Darwinism[citation needed] based on his experience with Eurisko. Lenat was one of the original Fellows of the AAAI.

Lenat's quest, in the Cyc project, to build the basis of a general artificial intelligence by manually representing knowledge in the formal language, CycL, based on extensions to first-order predicate calculus has not been without its critics, among them many members of the MIT hacker culture. It is perhaps for this reason that "bogosity" is jokingly said to be measured in microlenats according to the Jargon File, the lenat being considered too large for practical use.

At the University of Pennsylvania, Lenat received his Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Physics, and his Master's degree in Applied Mathematics in 1972. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University (published in Knowledge-based systems in artificial intelligence, along with the Ph.D. thesis of Randall Davis, McGraw-Hill, 1982) in 1976. His advisor was Professor Edward Feigenbaum.

In 1976 Lenat started teaching at Carnegie-Mellon and commenced his work on Eurisko, but returned to Stanford in a teaching role in 1978. His continuing work on Eurisko led to attention in 1982 from DARPA and MCC in Austin, Texas. In 1984 he left Stanford to commence work on Cyc[1], the fruits of which were spun out of MCC into Cycorp in 1994. In 1986, he estimated the effort to complete Cyc would be 250,000 rules and 350 man-years of effort[2].

As of 2006, Lenat continues his work on Cyc at Cycorp. He is also a member of TTI/Vanguard's advisory board.


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