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project mac 50 years

About MAC 50 and Project MAC

The spreadsheet. Data encryption. The World Wide Web.


Over the last half-century, many of the most important advances in computing were made by MIT scientists.


To commemorate "Project MAC" and 50 years of computer science at the school, MIT is hosting a 1.5 day "MAC 50" symposium featuring some of the most important figures in computing, academia, business and technology giving talks about robotics, Big Data, biostats and other vital topics within the field.


Speakers include Ethernet co-inventor Bob Metcalfe, and Rethink Robotics CTO Rodney Brooks, among many others. MIT President L. Rafael Reif will deliver welcoming remarks.


About Project MAC


Project MAC (Multiple Access Computer and Machine Aided Cognition) was founded on July 1, 1963 with the goal of developing a computing system that would allow individuals to access computational power much as we are able to access electricity for our homes. The result was time-sharing and a new paradigm of interactive computing, which laid the foundation for many of today’s basic design concepts for software systems.


Launched with a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and subsequently funded by both DARPA and the National Science Foundation (NSF), Project MAC led to the foundation of an official academic computer science curriculum at MIT and marked the beginning of an enormously productive era of computing research at MIT. Out of Project MAC came MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab, which then merged in 2003 to form CSAIL.


On May 28 and 29, we will celebrate Project MAC and CSAIL’s key role in the computer science revolution.


Organizing Committee


Jack Costanza

Adam Conner-Simons

Fernando Corbato

Randall Davis

David Gifford

Silvio Micali

Victoria Palay

Ronald Rivest

Daniela Rus

Howard Shrobe

Steve Ward

Patrick Winston