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Prof. Comatose After Hanoi Bike Accident


Seymour Papert, a professor emeritus at MIT who is one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence and an authority on how computers can help children learn, was seriously injured after being struck by a motorbike in Hanoi, where he was attending a conference.

The accident on Tuesday left Papert, 78, in a coma. He underwent brain surgery at French Hospital, hospital officials said.

He was struck while crossing a street near his hotel, Hoang Xuan Lan of Hanoi Technology University, told the Associated Press. The university is hosting the conference.

A native of South Africa, Papert worked with renowned researcher Jean Piaget and helped develop the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT with Marvin Minsky. Their book, “Perceptrons,” is considered one of the seminal works on the topic. Papert also helped create Logo, a programming language used to teach computer science.

Since retiring, Papert, who lives in Maine, has been adviser to the MIT Media Lab’s international One Laptop Per Child project.