Does this theme sound familiar?

S. A. Modena samodena at csemail.ncsu.edu
Thu Jul 9 04:44:36 EST 1992

What follows is a posting from COMP.AI.NEURAL-NETS.

It is by the author/inventor of a patented NN paradigm...and presumably
an academic.

I was struck by the "reality shock" he conveys plus the reminder that
there is the "long haul" to consider in the matter of new technology,
it's development, acceptance and transfer to the "private sector" (i.e.
gain widespread acceptance).

Hope you enjoy it, because some of us are mentioned obliquely.

 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = == 

>Newsgroups: comp.ai.neural-nets
>From: arms at cs.UAlberta.CA (Bill Armstrong)
>Subject: Re: patent implications (was: ALN literature)
>Message-ID: <arms.710465712 at spedden>
>Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1992 23:35:12 GMT

torda at igc.ethz.ch (Andrew Torda) writes:

>The literature list for ALN's is great, but there is one entry
>which should, perhaps, be made clearer.

>In article <arms.710231883 at spedden> arms at cs.UAlberta.CA (Bill Armstrong) writes:
>>W. Armstrong, Adaptive Boolean Logic Element, U. S. Patent 3934231,
>>Feb. 28, 1974 (multiple filings in various countries),
>>assigned to Dendronic Decisions Limited.

>What are the implications of this patent ?

The implications are virtually nil.  The patent runs out on Jan. 20,
1993, so all it really does is assure that the central idea of ALNs,
heuristic responsibility, is usable by *everyone* without payment of a
fee after that date.  No one can come along and claim it is a new
invention.  That patent is (sigh) very broad and almost dead.

If anyone gets a commercial operation based on hardware ALNs going by
that time, then it would be reasonable to give the company (Dendronic
Decisions Limited) some money, but how fast can people get into

Software is probably not covered by the patent.  Since claim 10 of the
patent covers essentially a wire carrying a signal representing
heuristic responsibility, it could be that any computer execution of
ALN software would be covered.  I don't know.  The main reason for
including a royalty free license to use the patent in connection with
the software was precisely so people would *not* have to worry about
infringement by doing simulations.

You may say: "This guy is stupid, he's never going to make any money
giving things away and licensing software and hardware technology free."

There are several answers (to that perhaps legitimate comment):

1. It has already taken the scientific community twenty years to get
the least bit interested in this idea of ALNs, so if someone doesn't
publicize it, the neural net field will die again without attention
being paid to ALNs.  To publicize the idea, you have to let people in
on it, not try to exclude them.

2. There is a lot of research (say 10 years of active research) not in
the demo version atree 2.6 or in the patent, that is still patentable
when we get the support we need.

3. ALNs are not just some little fad thing that will disappear after a
few researchers have scribbled their papers and milked the area dry of
research funds.  ALNs will be around as long as we build computers out
of switching devices like transistors.  So why should the inventor
worry about the money that he could make between now and Jan. 20,
1993?  It is much better to think about what can be done between now
and the year 3000.

Thanks for your interest.


Prof. William W. Armstrong, Computing Science Dept.
University of Alberta; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H1
arms at cs.ualberta.ca Tel(403)492 2374 FAX 492 1071

========== Comment 1 follows

From: sassoj at vccsouth22.its.rpi.edu (John J. Sasso Jr.)

   A short while back, Bill Armstrong referred many netters to ALN software,
called Atree.  I got a copy of Atree v.2.6 for Windows 3.1, and from what I
have seen so far is incredible.  First, the user interface for Atree is nice,i

======= Comment 2 follows

From: jssloka at bode.waterloo.edu (Jeffery Scott Sloka)

P.S.  We are also very impressed with U of Alberta's ALN software...


That's all for now, Folks!  :^)

|     In person:  Steve Modena     AB4EL                           |
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         Lighten UP!  It's just a computer doing that to you.

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