Thursday, May 2, 2019

Nils Nilsson, RIP

Yann LeCun (Hacker News, Andrew Ng):

Nils Nilsson passed away.

He is best known for the invention of the A* algorithm for path finding, and for his leading role in the Shakey project at SRI, one of the first mobile robots with visual perception and trajectory planning....

Bob Nystrom:

There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of him because he didn’t stick his name on an algorithm. But, if you’ve ever made or played a videogame, you have benefitted from his work. A* is the foundation of most enemy behavior in games.

Fangyu Cai:

Nilsson was the first Kumagai Professor of Engineering (Emeritus) in Computer Science at Stanford University, and his contributions to search, planning, knowledge representation, and robotics have been long respected and broadly applied. In his twenty-three years with Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Center Nilsson worked on statistical and neural-network approaches to pattern recognition, co-invented the A* heuristic search algorithm and the STRIPS automatic planning system, and co-directed work on the integrated mobile robot, SHAKEY.

See also: Story of A* and STRIPS by Nils Nilsson.

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