One day when I was having lunch with Richard Feynman, I mentioned to him that I was planning to start a company to build a parallel computer with a million processors. His reaction was unequivocal, “That is positively the dopiest idea I ever heard.” For Richard a crazy idea was an opportunity to either prove it wrong or prove it right. Either way, he was interested.
– Danny Hillis 
When Danny Hillis (b. 1956) was a graduate student at MIT‘s Artificial Intelligence (AI) lab in the early 1980s, he built a massively parallel supercomputer which he named the Connection Machine. At the time, computers were still somewhat ENIAC-like: sequential, single-processor machines. By contrast, the Connection Machine had over 65,000 processors! The Connection Machine was the topic of Danny Hillis’ PhD thesis , supervised by Prof. Gerald Jay Sussman.
[ Connection Machine 2 ]
Danny Hillis‘ motivation to build such a parallel computer stemmed from his desire to explore new paradigms of computation outside the traditional von Neumann architecture. Hillis believed that Computer Science needed fresh ideas, and he turned to Physics as a source of inspiration .
Although the Connection Machine was initially intended for applications in Artificial Intelligence, later versions of it (CM-2, CM-5) were used with remarkable success in Computational Physics (e.g., Lattice QCD ).
In 1983 Danny Hillis co-founded a company named Thinking Machines Corporation (TMC) in order to exploit possible commercial applications of the Connection Machine paradigm. Folly, poor business sense, and competition from established supercomputer firms forced TMC into bankruptcy in 1993 .
 Danny Hillis, Richard Feynman and the Connection Machine.
 Danny Hillis, The Connection Machine, Ph.D. thesis, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), MIT, 1988.
 Danny Hillis, New Computer Architectures and their relationship to Physics, International Journal of Theoretical Physics, Vol 21, Nos. 3/4, 1982.
 Geoffrey C. Fox, Roy D. Williams, Paul C. Messina, Parallel Computing Works: QCD on the Connection Machine, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 1994.
 Gary A. Taubes, The Rise and Fall of Thinking Machines, Inc.com, September 15, 1995.