Donald Michie (1923 – 2007) was an exceptional scientist whose accomplishments spanned four different fields: the biological sciences, medicine, computing, and artificial intelligence. Born in Burma in 1923, he graduated from Balliol College, Oxford, with an MA in Human Anatomy and Physiology, and a D.Phil. in Mammalian Genetics. During World War II, he worked with Alan Turing and the Enigma code-breaking group at Bletchley Park. He later founded the Turing Institute (in 1984) at the University of Strathclyde, where he was Chief Scientist and was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the A. M. Turing Trust (1975-1984).

Professor Michie’s scientific publications include authorship of five books and some 170 academic papers, and he has edited the 14 volumes of the Machine Intelligence series as well as several other books. His best known work has been in Artificial Intelligence, in which his seminal efforts made enormous contributions in the fields of Computer Chess, Expert Systems, and Machine Learning.

His awards and affiliations include: Scientific Fellow, Zoological Society of London (1953); Founder and Director, Experimental Programming Unit, University of Edinburgh (1965); Founder, Professor Emeritus and first Chairman, Department of Machine Intelligence and Perception, University of Edinburgh (1967); Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1969); Fellow of the British Computer Society (1971); Visiting Lecturer, USSR Academy of Sciences (1973 and 1985); Director, Machine Intelligence Research Unit, University of Edinburgh (1974-1984); Founder, British Computer Society Specialist Group in Expert Systems (1980); Pioneer Award, International Embryo Transfer Society (1988), jointly with Dr. Ann McLaren for work in the 1950s; Founding Fellow, American Association for Artificial Intelligence (1990); Founder, Human-Computer Learning Foundation (1995); recipient, Feigenbaum Medal of the World Congress on Expert Systems (1996) and of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence Award for Research Excellence (2001); and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2001).

An outstanding speaker who was in regular demand, Professor Michie was invited to give many honorary lectures including: the Herbert Spencer Lecture, Oxford University (1976); the Samuel Wilks Memorial Lecture, Princeton University (1978); the Royal Institution Lecture Co-operating Robots (1982); the Technology Lecture, Royal Society (1984); the G. A. Miller Lecture, University of Illinois (1983); the S. L. A. Marshall Lecture to the US Army Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (1990); and the C. C. Garvin Lecture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1992). Professor Michie held visiting appointments at: Stanford University (1962, 1978, 1991); Syracuse University (1970, 1971); Oxford University (1971, 1994, 1995); Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1974, 1992); University of Illinois (1976, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982); McGill University (1977); University of New South Wales (1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1998).

He was awarded honorary doctorates by: the UK National Council for Academic Awards (1991); The University of Salford (1992); Stirling University (1996), The University of Aberdeen (1999) and The University of York (2000).


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