The Elusive Quillian

25 Nov 2013

They all ascribe to the american cognitive scientist Ross Quillian the credit of having formulated the concept of semantic network in modern terms... 

... it doesn't seem a trivial matter, yet about this eminent scientist there is very little on the web. Usually it's just sketchy illustrations of its theoretical assumptions (here a couple of links, not even the worst: http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/poplog/computers-and-thought/chap6/ node5.html, http://rwald.tripod.com/rodm/quillian.html) that have been so important in generating what we now call 'semantic web'. Of his story, his life, it has been said very little (let's say nothing): we aren't even able to find an entry dedicated to him on wikipedia. Perhaps he's been harmed by the almost homonymy with another artificial intelligence hero, Ross Quinlan, who instead has earned his beautiful voice on wikipedia. The fact is that while Minsky, Papert and others were duly 'sanctified', for some reason Quillian remained in the shadows. M. Ross Quillian, who was he? Please come forward if you know anything...