First Steve and then Dennis and now we have the death of a third computing pioneer this month. John McCarthy passed away earlier this week at the age of 84.
McCarthy was one of the founders and early promoters of Artificial Intelligence and gave the field its name. He developed Lisp for the same reason Newton invented calculus, he needed a system to do his research so he created his own. Lisp, built on Church's λ-calculus, was the first popular example of a functional programming language, an entirely different way to think about programming than the more structured languages. McCarthy received the ACM Turing Award in 1971.
McCarthy truly believed a computer could capture human intelligence and his pioneering work may yet help make that happen.