Early AI hacker Alan Kotok passes away

June 3rd, 2006

I was saddened to read John Markoff’s NYT article on the death of Alan Kotok. He was in the group of TMRC hackers who helped found MIT AI Lab. He was known for his work on the Spacewar game and the first MIT chess program with John McCarthy that becames his MIT BS thesis. He joined DEC after leaving MIT where he designed the PDP-6 and was chief architect of the PDP-10. A generation (or two) of Computer Science grad students learned how to hack on those machines. (I had the pleasure of wasting many hours playing Spacewar on PDP-6 serial number 2.) Kotok joined the W3C as associate chairman in 1997.