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Automating Invention is Robert Plotkin's blog on the impact of computer-automated inventing on the future of invention and patent law.

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October 31, 2009

Programmable DNA Computers

A team of researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have been working with biomolecular computers made of DNA and other biological molecules. Working under Professor Ehud Shapiro, the team introduced the first programmable DNA computing device in 2001. The device is amazingly small - a trillion can fit in a drop of water. In a recent paper published in Nature Nanotechnology, the team describes the design of an advanced logical program for the device, as well as a compiler. Read more about the DNA computers at this Weizmann Institute website.

Posted by BlogAuthor1 at 3:10 AM | Comments (0)
category: Design & Engineering

October 29, 2009

The Potential of Wolfram Alpha

On May 15, the website for a new "computational knowledge engine" called Wolfram Alpha was launched. With a user interface that resembles search engines like Google, Wolfram Alpha answers factual questions by computing answers using a knowledge database of structured data. This type of answer engine is different from a search engine in several of key ways. One of the biggest differences is that you can't cut and paste from the results page of Wolfram Alpha. This is because Wolfram Research claims that some of the data displayed "never existed before" and is subject to copyright.

This Infoworld article suggests that Wolfram Research is initiating a fundamental shift in the area of software copyrighting by claiming that not just software, but also output generated automatically by software, can be owned and copyrighted.

Posted by BlogAuthor1 at 3:00 AM | Comments (0)
category: Intellectual Property Law

October 27, 2009

Using a Game to Harness Human Intuition

Computer science researchers at the University of Michigan have prototyped a computer game that addresses a fundamental problem faced by computer hardware designers. The game is an online logic puzzle called FunSAT. It simulates the challenges faced by integrated circuit designers when they arrange transistors and connections on silicon microchips. Chip architecture is usually aided by computer design, but human pattern recognition and intuition are important components that are often missing from automated design. FunSAT was developed as an answer to that problem, harnessing the human ability to strategize and visualize complex systems.

Posted by BlogAuthor1 at 2:47 AM | Comments (0)
category: Artificial Invention

October 25, 2009

Automating Software Design

A major European research project has developed a system that helps software developers take new software from the drawing board to executable code. The VIDE project (for VIsualize all moDel drivEn programming) began with the goal of making the development of executable software a single process instead of a sequence of separate activities. Funded by the European Union, the project has been underway for two years and has produced a design and development toolkit that is reported to simplify, speed up and decrease the cost of the creation of high-quality and easily-modifiable software. The system is based on a pre-existing modeling language called UML, for Unified Modeling Language.

Posted by BlogAuthor1 at 2:40 AM | Comments (0)
category: Design & Engineering

October 24, 2009

Report on the the Risks of Future AI

An earlier post mentioned the discussions that have taken place among 25 experts in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, ethics and law. Under the auspices of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, this panel of experts met in Asilomar, California to discuss possible risks in the future AI developments. Now New Scientist has reported on the panel's initial findings, which were presented at the International Joint Conference for Artificial Intelligence. The entire panel agreed that creating human-level artificial intelligence is possible in principle, but their estimates on when this may occur vary widely. Read more details on the New Scientist website.

Posted by BlogAuthor1 at 1:01 PM | Comments (0)
category: Philosophy of Computing

October 4, 2009

Talk on Genie in the Machine at Concord Public Library

I will be giving a talk on The Genie in the Machine next Thursday, October 15 at the Free Public Library in my home town of Concord, Massachusetts, starting at 7:30pm. The event is open to the public and will include a reading from the book and a question and answer period.

Posted by Robert at 5:01 PM | Comments (0)
category: Genie in the Machine

Reviews of the Indian Edition of The Genie in the Machine

Two new reviews, in the Hindu Business Line and ExpressBuzz.

Posted by Robert at 2:26 PM | Comments (0)
category: Genie in the Machine