Friday, January 6, 2023

Carl Hewitt, RIP

Stanford (via Hacker News):

We were saddened to learn of the death of Carl Hewitt, eminent AI researcher and visionary computer scientist.


Hewitt was best known for his work on the actor model of computation. For the last decade, his work had been in “inconsistency robustness”, which aims to provide practical rigorous foundations for systems dealing with pervasively inconsistent information. This work grew out of his doctoral dissertation focused on the procedural (as opposed to logical) embedding of knowledge, which was embodied in the Planner programming language.

See also: his blog.


Update (2023-01-12): Christine Lemmer-Webber:

RIP Carl Hewitt, founder of the actor model of computation. He could be a difficult person, but he listened to and was happy to talk to me and many others, and there are few people whose vision impacted so many areas of CS. He also was excited about Spritely (even though I would troll him by calling it “Lambda: the Ultimate Actor Model”). RIP.

Chris Lattner:

I’m v sad that Carl Hewitt passed recently. I was fortunate that Carl visited Apple many years ago and shared his ideas on actor models. It took many years, but his thinking had a big impact on the Swift concurrency manifesto.

Joe Duffy:

Carl was hugely influential on our work on safe concurrency at Microsoft. When he learned about us, he was flattered and wanted to help, like your experience. For such a titan, moved me.

Off to reread A Universal Modular ACTOR Formalism and celebrate an industry giant.

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