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Judea Pearl Codes Languages to Challenge Paradigms of Computer Science

By Daily Bruin

July 5, 2018

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Judea Pearl's fourth-grade teacher and classmates insisted he was wrong. They were convinced the area of a kilometer-length square was a thousand square meters, not a million like Pearl said.

Pearl was unphased: He thought his teacher had made a mistake. Two days later, she apologized.

"That was when I first started questioning authority," he said, chuckling.

Pearl, an emeritus professor of computer science at UCLA, built his career by challenging generally accepted conventions in the field of artificial intelligence.

When people upgraded to newer computers, Pearl continued to use his 20-year-old Wyse terminal.

"I always have my internet when everyone else is complaining about it," he said while typing code onto the green and black screen to load his email.

When computer scientists said computers could only understand true or false, Pearl found a way to make them understand uncertainty.

When computer scientists said machines should be answering the question, "What?" Pearl said they should be answering the question, "Why?"


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