What were the first areas of research into Artificial Intelligence and what were some early successes? More recently we've had:

  1. Beating a human at the game of chess
  2. Convincing a human that a person was conversing with them (passing the Turing test)
  3. Beating a human at Jeopardy game show
  4. Beating a human at the game of go.

Were there milestones that were considered major in the field before the 1990s?


What might be classed as AI has of course changed over the years, but landmarks and research breakthroughs include:

  • Babbagge's Difference Engine (~1823) for tabulating/interpolating polynomials.
  • Frank Rosenblatt's 1957 invention of the Perceptron.
  • John McCarthy's invention of Lisp in the late 1950s.

  • Arthur Samuel's 1959 checkers player, which famously improved by playing against itself (it would have been nice if that had destroyed the myth about a program only being as 'intelligent' as its creator).

  • Newell and Simon's 1959 General Problem Solver applied Means-Ends analysis to solve a range of problems expressed as Horn clauses.

  • Davis, Putnam et al: 1962 invention of the DPLL algorithm which still forms the core of modern SAT-based theorem provers.

  • Lawrence Fogel et al: 1966 book Artificial Intelligence through Simulated Evolution.

  • Rechenberg and Schwefel: 1960s development of Evolutionsstrategie - an Evolutionary Computation approach using mutation and a form of Darwinian 'survival of the fittest'.

  • Lotfi Zadeh's 1965 invention of Fuzzy Logic.

  • John Holland's 1975 book "Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems" which introduced Genetic Algorithms.

  • The 1980 Hearsay II Blackboard Architecture by Hayes-Roth et al.

  • The 1980s invention of the backpropagation algorithm for Mutlilayer Perceptrons by Rumelhart, Hinton et al.

  • $\begingroup$ Flying a bit under the radar, but nonetheless relevant, (you know, neural networks, improving by self-play, introduces completely new strategies, etc.): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TD-Gammon $\endgroup$ – BlindKungFuMaster Mar 18 '17 at 19:12

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