M. M. Bongard (1924 – 1971) was a Russian computer scientist. He graduated in the early 1950’s from the Department of Physics of the University of Moscow. Since 1958 he started using computers to study the process of pattern recognition considering it to be at the foundation of mental processing. During 1959–61, Bongard and his colleagues created two training programs for recognition and classification: “Arithmetic”, and “Geometry”. His book, “The Problem of Recognition”, published in the U.S.S.R. in 1967 (appeared as “Pattern Recognition” in its 1970 English translation), introduced a number of visual puzzles in its Appendix, which later became known as “Bongard Problems” (BP’s). BP’s are primarily problems of visual categorization, and thus played an important role in the disciplines of cognitive psychology and cognitive science.
Bongard’s book contained 100 BP’s, but later other people added more to the collection. A quite extensive repository of BP’s, including all the original 100, can be found on this page.
Bongard died in 1971 during a hiking expedition in the Pamir Mountains.
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