Herbert Gelernter

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Herbert Leo Gelernter (December 17 1929 – May 28, 2015)[1][2][3] was a professor in the Computer Science Department of Stony Brook University.[4]

Short biography[edit]

Having taken his B.S. in 1951 from Brooklyn College,[5] Gelernter received his Ph.D. at the University of Rochester in 1957.[4][6]

Gelernter's extended visit to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 1960/61, while he was developing a prototype of his 'vidicon' (a system which dispensed with film, and used a television-camera tube to record a spark-chamber event and store it as digitized data on magnetic tape) stimulated the development of a data-handling system for spark chambers in early 1961.[7]

During his time at IBM, he wrote some of the first artificial intelligence software—his "geometry machine" was the first advanced AI program, and the third AI program ever.[8] He implemented, with Nathaniel Rochester, a computer language for list processing within FORTRAN. The work for this was done with Carl Gerberich at IBM, to this end producing the Fortran list processing language (FLPL).[9] His most ambitious project during his tenure at Stony Brook University was the SYNCHEM expert problem-solving system for the discovery of potential routes to the total synthesis of organic molecules through a self-guided intelligent search and application of its large knowledge base of graph transforms, rules and sophisticated heuristics representing generalized organic reactions organized around recognized functional groups. Prof. Gelernter died on May 28, 2015. In 1952,[10] he had married Ruth, daughter of rabbi Theodore Norton Lewis.[11][12] His sons are geneticist and Yale professor Joel Gelernter and computer scientist and conservative social commentator David Gelernter, also a Yale professor.[13] His daughter Judith is a research scientist in the Information Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.[citation needed]

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ American Men and Women of Science, 21st edition, vol. 3, Thomson/ Gale, 2009, p. 76
  2. ^ Milestones in Computer Science and Information Technology, Edwin D. Reilly, Greenwood Press, 2003, p. 318
  3. ^ "Herbert Gelernter | Department of Computer Science".
  4. ^ a b "Stony Brook University". Retrieved November 26, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ American Men and Women of Science, 21st edition, vol. 3, Thomson/ Gale, 2009, p. 76
  6. ^ The two-nucleon interaction at high energies and the Lévy potential University of Rochester. Dept. of Physics., (1957)- 260 pages retrieved 18:03(GMT) October 26, 2011
  7. ^ Krige, John (April 1987). "The development of techniques for the analysis of track-chamber pictures at CERN" (PDF). CERN - Studies in CERN History. Retrieved July 12, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ LISP prehistory John McCarthy Jul 26th 22:37 PDT 1996 retrieved 17:48(GMT) October 26, 2011 [see also: Lisp (programming language) and John McCarthy
  10. ^ American Men and Women of Science, 21st edition, vol. 3, Thomson/ Gale, 2009, p. 76
  11. ^ Who's Who in Religion, vol. 1, Marquis Who's Who, 1975, p. 343
  12. ^ "RUTH LEWIS BETROTHED; Graduate Student at Michigan Fiancee of Herbert Gelernter". The New York Times. October 31, 1951.
  13. ^ For a remembrance see "A Life That Made Sense," by David Gelernter, The Weekly Standard, September 7, 2015, at 5.