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Michael Hawley, Programmer, Professor and Pianist, Dies at 58

By The New York Times

June 26, 2020

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Michael Hawley, a computer programmer, professor, musician, speechwriter and impresario who helped lay the intellectual groundwork for what is now called the Internet of Things, died on Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, MA. He was 58.

The cause was colon cancer, said his father, George Hawley.

Mr. Hawley began his career as a video game programmer at Lucasfilm, the company created by the "Star Wars" director George Lucas. He spent his last 15 years curating the Entertainment Gathering, or EG, a conference dedicated to new ideas.

In between, he worked at NeXT, the influential computer company founded by Steve Jobs after he left Apple in the mid-1980s, and spent nine years as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, a seminal effort to push science and technology into art and other disciplines. He was known as a scholar whose ideas, skills and friendships spanned an unusually wide range of fields, from mountain climbing to watchmaking.

Mr. Hawley lived with both Mr. Jobs and the artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky, published the world's largest book, won first prize in an international competition of amateur pianists, played alongside the cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the wedding of the celebrity scientist Bill Nye, joined one of the first scientific expeditions to Mount Everest, and wrote commencement speeches for both Mr. Jobs and the Google co-founder Larry Page.


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