Jack Minker

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Jack Minker
Jack Minker Giving Invited Talk LPNMR 2007.JPG
Jack Minker in 2007
Born Brooklyn, New York
Fields Computer Science
Institutions University of Maryland, College Park
Doctoral advisor Bernard Epstein
Doctoral students Chitta Baral, Sharma Chakravarthy, Jose Fernandez, Daniel Fishman, Theresa Gaasterland, Annie Gal, Mark Giuliano, Parke Godfrey, Jarek Gryz, Simon Kasif, Madhur Kohli, Zheng Lin, Jorge Lobo, James McSkimin, Shekhar Pradhan, Arcot Rajasekar, Carolina Ruiz, Deepak Sherlekar, Gerald Wilson, biju K C
Notable awards Allen Newell Award 2005

Jack Minker is a leading authority in artificial intelligence, deductive databases, logic programming and non-monotonic reasoning. He is also an internationally recognized leader in the field of human rights of computer scientists.


Minker was born in 1927 in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BA from Brooklyn College in 1949, MA from the University of Wisconsin in 1950 and Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania in 1959, having started his career in industry in 1951, working at the Bell Aircraft Corporation, RCA and the Auerbach Corporation.[1] He joined the University of Maryland in 1967, becoming Professor of Computer Science in 1971 and the first Chairman of the Department in 1974. He became Professor Emeritus in 1998.

Minker is one of the founders of the area of deductive databases and disjunctive logic programming. He has made important contributions to semantic query optimization and to cooperative and informative answers for deductive databases. He has also developed a theoretical basis for disjunctive databases and disjunctive logic programs, developing the Generalized Closed World Assumption (GCWA).

Minker has over 150 refereed publications and has edited or co-edited five books on deductive databases, logic programming, and the use of logic in artificial intelligence. He is Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Theory and Practice of Logic Programming Journal.

Minker has been Vice-Chairman of the Committee of Concerned Scientists since 1973, and Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights (CSFHR) of the Association for Computing Machinery from 1980-1989. He led the struggle for the release of Anatoly Shcharansky and Alexander Lerner from the late Soviet Union. He also campaigned on behalf of Andrei Sakharov and his wife, Yelena Bonner. His memoir, Scientific Freedom & Human Rights: Scientists of Conscience During the Cold War, was published in 2012 by IEEE Computer Society Press.

Honours and awards[edit]

Minker was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 1989, founding Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) in 1990, Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 1991,[2] and founding Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) in 1994.[3]

He received the ACM Outstanding Contribution Award for his work on human rights in 1985, the ACM Recognition of Service Award in 1989, the University of Maryland President's Medal for 1996, and the prestigious ACM Allen Newell Award for 2005. The Allen Newell Award is a recognition by the Association for Computing Machinery to individuals that have contributed to the breadth of knowledge within computer science and the bridging between computer science and other disciplines. He also received the 2011 Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights Award from the New York Academy of Sciences for his work on behalf of scientific freedom and human rights for scientists.


  1. ^ Lobo, Jorge; Rajasekar, Arcot (1994). "Jack Minker — A profile". Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence 14 (2): 135–149. doi:10.1007/BF01530817. 
  2. ^ "Fellows - M". IEEE Fellows. IEEE. 1991. Retrieved 2010-01-23. for contributions to deductive databases, disjunctive logic programming, and artificial intelligence 
  3. ^ "Jack Minker". ACM Fellows. ACM. 1994. Retrieved 2010-01-23. For championing the rights of scientists to practice their profession freely and openly, for bringing to public attention the names of scientists deprived of their scientific freedom and human rights, and for giving these victims hope and making them aware of ACM's support. 

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