Edward Feigenbaum was born in Weehawken, New Jersey, in 1936. He holds a B.S. (1956) and Ph.D. (1960), both from Carnegie Mellon University. His dissertation was supervised by legendary computer pioneer Herb Simon and explored a pioneering computer simulation of human learning.
Feigenbaum is a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence and is often known as “the father of expert systems.” He founded the Knowledge Systems Laboratory at Stanford University and is currently a professor emeritus of computer science there.
Feigenbaum joined the Stanford computer science faculty in 1965 as one of its founding members. That same year, he and Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg started the DENDRAL project. Later joined by eminent chemist Carl Djerassi and others, this project produced the world’s first expert system (1965-1982). DENDRAL’s groundbreaking accomplishments inspired an evolution of expert systems, moving artificial intelligence out of the laboratory and into the structure of countless software applications. As important, it changed the framework of AI science: the power of an AI program came to be seen as largely in its knowledge base, not in its inference processes.
Over a career spanning the history of artificial intelligence, he has written and spoken extensively on artificial intelligence topics.
In 1994, Feigenbaum received the ACM Turing Award. From 1994 to 1997, he was Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.