Sunday, August 12, 2007

Digital Reasoning awarded contextual similarity patent?

I was lead to this article on Forbes via Damien's post. The article is about a company Digital Reasoning getting patent on what sounded to me as contextual similarity. Their "white paper" makes reference to a patent number 7249117 (via USPTO). Unlike research papers, reading the patent document was so difficult. Will get to it sometime later but here is an extract from their press release about what their technology can do.

* Learn the meanings of words, classes of words, and other symbols based on how they are used in context in natural language
* Create and manipulate models of this "meaning" - i.e. the mathematical patterns of usage - including the detection of groups or similar categories of words or development of hierarchies or creation of relationships between words
* Improve the models based on human feedback or using other structured information after model construction
* The representation or sharing of this model or learning in an ontology, graph structure, or programming languages

Anyone from the ACL/ML/AI community can immediately recognize this and start citing their favorite papers on these topics starting from at least a decade ago. A promotional video from the company on YouTube can be found here. Excerpt from the video: "... We treat the text representation of human language as a signal ... ".

I think everyone should stop taking patents seriously. Wishful thinking?

1 comment:

Anil Kumar Singh said...

High time indeed. It we take it seriously then it implies I can't finish my thesis.

I will ignore it, but I hope everyone does. Ignore all patents. Period.