Ontolog Forum

Douglas Bruce Lenat

Our friend and Ontology Summit collaborator Doug Lenat died on August 31, 2023. It was very sad news to all of us who worked with him, and a great loss to the community.
Doug was an American computer scientist and researcher in AI who was the founder and CEO of Cycorp, Inc. in Austin, Texas. He was awarded the biannual IJCAI Computers and Thought Award in 1976 for creating the symbolic machine learning program AM. The AM program made hundreds of small creative discoveries in mathematics -- a theorem proposer, rather than a theorem prover. He contributed to knowledge representation, cognitive economy, blackboard systems, and ontology engineering, a term he coined in 1984.
Doug was a professor at CMU and Stanford, and left academia to found the Cyc project in 1984. He was named one of the original Fellows of AAAI. He was a strong proponent of encoding commonsense knowledge (open knowledge networks are an attempt to do this). He played a major role in the development of the discipline of ontology engineering, especially through the Cyc project and Cycorp.
Doug was a contributor to the Ontolog community since 2005. He was actively involved in the very first Ontology Summit, dedicated to making upper ontologies interoperable. His Ontology Summit invited presentations include:
• "CYC: Lessons Learned in Large-Scale Ontological Engineering" ConferenceCall_2005_11_17
• Upper Ontology Summit presentation on OpenCyc UpperOntologySummitMeeting_2006_03_15
• "Is OpenCyc doomed to be the new Esperanto, or is OOR doomed to be the new Electronic Data Interchange, or -- even worse -- both!" ConferenceCall_2008_04_03
• "Representation and Reasoning Lessons Learned in Building Cyc" ConferenceCall_2022_02_02
He will be missed.