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February 16, 2024


Ronald J. Williams, 79, of Framingham, MA, formerly of Wellesley, passed away February 16, 2024. Ron was born and raised in California. Growing up in the Los Angeles area, Ron attended the California Institute of Technology for his undergraduate degree and obtained his PhD in Math at the University of California, San Diego. It was here that his love for playing music blossomed and he would spend his nights performing with his band at various local bars. All throughout his life, he would entertain others with his ability to recognize a tune he would hear you humming and start playing it on the piano.

After graduation, Ron worked for a defense contractor specializing in anti submarine warfare. It was there that he worked on developing algorithms that would help the US military discover Soviet submarines. It was also there that he met his wife, Pam. In addition to a new wife, he also became stepfather to 2 children, Eric (7) and Jamie (5). Shortly after that, Ron accepted a job at Northeastern University, moved his family to Massachusetts, and welcomed his daughter Brittany into the world.

Ron was a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Northeastern University. As one of the founding pioneers of neural networks, he made fundamental contributions to reinforcement learning algorithms that made artificial intelligence software, such as ChatGPT possible.

Ron embraced being a New Englander, shifting his allegiances to the Boston sports teams, and taking up a new passion for skiing. In his free time, he spent many hours playing on his guitar and keyboard, jamming with his friends, and entertaining his family. Ron had a passion for learning as well as for teaching. He loved watching Jeopardy and playing Trivial Pursuit, and became a master bridge player.

He is survived by his wife, Pam, son Eric, daughters Jamie and Brittany, daughter-in-law Beth, son-in-law Oscar, grandsons Joshua, Tyler, and Ender, and granddaughters Hannah and Maya. His family will celebrate his life and scatter his ashes at his favorite beach in San Diego and at the top of his favorite ski run at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire.

The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider making a donation to the Parkinson’s Foundation in Ron’s name.

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Casper Funeral Services
187 Dorchester Street
Boston, MA 02127