AI and cloud legend John McCarthy dies

John McCarthy

There's no such thing as the father of cloud computing but one guy who came pretty close was John McCarthy, whose death, on Sunday, has just been reported.

The news was announced by Stanford University where McCarthy, who was 84, had been a long-term member of the computer science faculty. He was best known for his work on artificial intelligence (he is credited with having coined the term) and was the inventor of the LISP language

Before his work on AI, however, he was also the first person to speculate that computing could be delivered as a utility like gas and electricity. It was a theme taken up by Douglas Parkhill in his 1966 book The Challenge of the Computer Utility but McCarthy deserves the credit for his vision.

McCarthy also pioneered time-sharing computing, a technology that was picked up BBN, a leading light in the early stages of the internet.

Ross Kelly

Ross Kelly is a staff writer at ITPro, ChannelPro, and CloudPro, with a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership and emerging technologies.

He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research. 

In his spare time, Ross enjoys cycling, walking and is an avid reader of history and non-fiction.

You can contact Ross at or on Twitter and LinkedIn.