Massachusetts Institute of Technology artificial intelligence expert Marvin Minsky has reason to feel a bit like singer Paul McCart-ney these days. Like the former Beatle, the computer scientist recently attracted a crowd of teenagers while on a trip to Japan.

Minsky says that after being recognized by a group of Japanese students on an airplane, he concluded that they, in general, "are as excited about a scientist as [United States students] are about a rock 'n' roll star." The reason for Minsky's high visibility is his recent selection as winner of the 1990 Japan Prize, awarded by the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan. He will receive the prize in a ceremony to be held tomorrow at the National Theater in Tokyo.

The award, established in 1985, is designed to recognize scientists whose achievements in science and technology are original and outstanding. Minsky, who will receive approximately $350,000 (50 million...

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