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Brian Silverman

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Brian Silverman is a Canadian computer scientist, the creator of many programming environments for children,[1] and a researcher in cellular automata.

Silverman was a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1970s, where he was one of the creators of a tinkertoy computer that played tic-tac-toe.[2] As a student at MIT, Silverman had worked with Seymour Papert, and when Papert founded Logo Computer Systems, Inc. in 1980 to commercialize the Logo programming language, Silverman became its director of research.[1][3] He later worked as a consulting scientist at the MIT Media Lab, where he ported Logo to "programmable bricks", a precursor to Lego Mindstorms,[4] and where he was one of the developers of the Scratch programming language. He is the co-founder, along with Paula Bonta and Mitchel Resnick,[5] and president of the Playful Invention Company, headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, which develops the Programmable Cricket, a spin-off from the Media Lab.[6]

Silverman was part of a team that reverse-engineered the MOS Technology 6502 and Intel 4004 microprocessors and developed transistor-level emulators for them,[7][8][9] and that ported Spacewar!, one of the earliest digital computer games, to Java, by writing another emulator for the PDP-1 on which the game was originally written.[10] He also invented several well-known cellular automaton rules, including Brian's Brain,[11] Seeds, and Wireworld;[12] working with his brother Barry Silverman he recovered the IBM APL\360 sources from tape to a state where they could be run on a mainframe emulator.

Selected publications[edit]

  • Resnick, M.; Martin, F.; Sargent, R.; Silverman, B. (1996), "Programmable Bricks: Toys to think with", IBM Systems Journal, 35 (3.4): 443–452, doi:10.1147/sj.353.0443, S2CID 207590899.
  • Resnick, Mitchel; Martin, Fred; Berg, Robert; Borovoy, Rick; Colella, Vanessa; Kramer, Kwin; Silverman, Brian (1998), "Digital manipulatives: new toys to think with", Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI '98, New York, NY, USA: ACM Press/Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., pp. 281–287, doi:10.1145/274644.274684, ISBN 0-201-30987-4, S2CID 1160498.
  • Resnick, Mitchel; Silverman, Brian (2005), "Some reflections on designing construction kits for kids", Proceedings of the 2005 Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '05), pp. 117–122, doi:10.1145/1109540.1109556, S2CID 207158213.
  • Resnick, Mitchel; Maloney, John; Monroy-Hernández, Andrés; Rusk, Natalie; Eastmond, Evelyn; Brennan, Karen; Millner, Amon; Rosenbaum, Eric; Silver, Jay; Silverman, Brian; Kafai, Yasmin (November 2009), "Scratch: programming for all", Communications of the ACM, 52 (11): 60–67, doi:10.1145/1592761.1592779, S2CID 229934947.


  1. ^ a b Computing Pioneer Returns to CMK 2010 Faculty! Archived November 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Constructing Modern Knowledge, September 29, 2010.
  2. ^ Dewdney, A. K. (October 1989), "Computer Recreations: A Tinkertoy computer that plays tic-tac-toe", Scientific American, doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0889-102, archived from the original on January 20, 2013
  3. ^ What is Logo? Archived 2013-05-20 at the Wayback Machine, Logo Foundation, retrieved 2013-02-10.
  4. ^ Martín, Fred G. (2001), Robotic explorations: a hands-on introduction to engineering, Prentice Hall, p. 11, ISBN 9780130895684.
  5. ^ "PicoCricket - Invention Kit That Integrates Art and Technology." PicoCricket - Invention Kit That Integrates Art and Technology. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 July 2013.
  6. ^ "The PicoCricket Kit | Playful Invention Company". www.playfulinvention.com. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 2022-06-18.
  7. ^ Swaminathan, Nikhil (July–August 2011), "Digging into Technology's Past: "Digital archaeologists" excavate the microprocessor that ushered in the home computing revolution", Archaeology, 64 (4).
  8. ^ Tim McNerney's talk at the Computer History Museum on 4004 35th anniversary project, Intel 4004 — 35th Anniversary Project, retrieved 2013-02-11.
  9. ^ James, Greg; Silverman, Barry; Silverman, Brian (2010). "Visualizing a classic CPU in action: The 6502". ACM SIGGRAPH 2010 Talks. New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. p. 1. doi:10.1145/1837026.1837061. ISBN 9781450303941. S2CID 1290581.
  10. ^ Ward, Mark (30 July 2001), "Happy 40th, computer games", BBC News.
  11. ^ Rucker, Rudy (2006), The Lifebox, the Seashell, And the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, And How to Be Happy, Basic Books, p. 242, ISBN 9781560258988.
  12. ^ Wolfram, Stephen (2002), A New Kind of Science, Wolfram Media, p. 1117