Sunday, October 18, 2009

World Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Dallas, Texas; Oct 18, 2009, KBSC:

I'm not sure if I learned this poem in Junior High School or High School, probably the latter:

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

Of course you recognize "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I thought of that poem last night when I was thinking of the upcoming October Rules Fest 2009 to be held in Dallas, Texas, at the Adolphus Hotel from October 26th - 30th. This conference reminded me of the 1956 Dartmouth College conference where the term Artificial Intelligence, AI, was first used. Those were the giants in the computer age then and ORF 2009 has their pride and joy students presenting the future of rulebased computing (a part of AI) in Dallas.

For example, Dr. Charles Forgy, considered one of the godfathers of that technology, will be speaking on parallel rulebased systems, something that no one is doing today. Well, not yet, anyway... But he and a few others at Carnegie Mellon University, CMU, in Pittsburgh, PA, pioneered that concept back in the 1980's. Thomas Cooper, another CMU grad, worked on the early implementations for XCON, a computer configuration program done by CMU under a DoD grant for Digital Equipment Corporation, DEC, that saved DEC over $1M per year in manpower. Tom is the keynote speaker on where the industry started, where they are now, and where they are going. Tom went on to co-author the first book on the language, OPS5, that was used to make life easier for all concerned.

The other pioneers who will be presenting will be Dr. Richard Hicks, inventor of EZ-Xpert rulebased system and considered to be THE expert on Validation and Verification of rulebased systems; Gary Riley, co-inventor of CLIPS (C-Language Interface to Production Systems) which was the first C/C++ implementation of rulebased system and it was specially developed for NASA; Carlos Seranno-Morales, the co-inventor of Neuron Data Advisor, one of the first Java (a computing language like BASIC or COBOL) versions of a rulebased system; Mark Proctor, co-inventor of Drools (Dynamic Object Oriented Language System) that was one of the very first implementations of an XML/Java version of a rulebase and is totally open source; Dr. Hafedh Mili, who wrote all of the early ILOG JRules rulebase tutorials; Dr. Jacob Feldman, inventor of Open Rules, a rulebase that comes with source code; Jason Morris, an early adopter of Jess (Java Expert System Shell), which was the first of the Java implementations of a rulebase a close copy of the CLIPS system, who is a recognized authority, lecturer and teacher on that system; Dr. Daniel Levine, a local professor at University of Texas Arlington, who is not only an early pioneer in Artificial Neural Networks (another division of AI) but also works with rulebased systems, psychology of the inner workings of the mind and is a widely published author; Dr. Gopal Gupta a local professor at University of Texas Dallas who works with constraint-based programming, another part of rulebased systems; Dr. Leon Kappelman (North Texas University) and John Zachman, the leaders in the world of Enterprise Architecture, will be presenting a two hour talk on how all of this can be road-mapped for executives, managers, programmers and users.

All in all, this is one of the most technical conferences in the world. It bridges the gap between academia, industry and software vendors so that there will be greater cohesion and understanding between all concerned. The T3 (Thursday Think Tank) is a highlight of the conference wherein all of the thought leaders get together in a four-hour, open panel discussion (open to all ORF attendees) and discuss what is needed by rulebased systems that will probably set the directions for the rulebase industry for the next decade. Oh, what does all of this have to do with Paul Revere? Nobody seems to remember the Dartmouth College Conference that started all of this.

(James Owen is the founder of ORF and a globe-trotting consultant on rulebase systems architecture and implementation.)

[Note: The above is being made available to The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star Telegram, London Financial Times, New York Times, and other major media outlets for publication during the week of Oct 19th - 26th. Should you wish to forward to your local newspaper, please feel free to do so.]

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Small Corrections


Small corrections to the previous post: Neither Gary nor Leon will actually have their books on sale AT the conference itself. However, should you already have the book(s) mentioned I sure that they would agree to sign them. :-)


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ORF 2009 and the Dartmouth Conference


As you may not know, the term AI (Artificial Intelligence) was first coined by those attending the Dartmouth College Conference way back in 1956. You can read the invitation list at if you like. The absolute best attended that conference. And that is what started our industry.

So, what does that have to do with ORF 2009? Because we have the best of the best of the best speaking at ORF 2009. And some of them are students of those who started all of this way back in 1956. ORF 2009 will be world-shattering and I, for one, have no idea of how to tell the world what we have here. Think of Woodstock - who knew? Well, I know from the white papers that are coming in and from the presentations that are coming in AND from the credentials of those who are speaking that we might never have such an event again.

If you know of anyone in the media who can see the dream, who can grasp what is happening here later this month, PLEASE tell them about it. This is not a Dallas thing. This is not a Texas thing. This is a world-shaking event. And, to reiterate, it might never happen again. The responses that I have heard so far is, "OK, it's a conference on geek stuff. So what? Those happen all the time." Not true. Not like this. Not with THESE kinds of speakers and topics.

I'm not a PR guy. I'm not a marketeer. I'm a geek and I don't know how to get the word out to the rest of the world that this could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime event. So, if you do know someone who can help, please ask them to do that very thing. Thanks,


October Rules Fest 2009 Update


Lots and lots of things happening at ORF 2009 so let's just get right to it:

Drools Boot Camp, all day Sunday and Monday morning. Free for ORF attendees. Small charge for DBC only. Mark Proctor and Edson Tirelli teaching. See link for details.

Jess Boot Camp, all day Sunday and Monday morning. Free for ORF attendees. Small charge for JBC only. Jason Morris (Jess guru and certified trainer) teaching. See link for details.

Tom Cooper, co-author of "Rule-based Programming With OPS5", will be our Keynote Speaker. Tom goes WAY back and is one of the pioneers of rulebased systems. The book is still available but has been out of print for quite some time.

Discounted Books. We don't have the complete list yet but there will be lots of rulebase specific books deeply discounted (more than Amazon) for ORF attendees. Dr. Kappelman and Gary Riley will have theirs there for signing (if you're into the groupie thing - I am) and I'm sure that we will have some more before the conference starts.

T3 - Thursday Think Tank - is really gearing up to be one of the highlights of the conference. Our take on this is that the outcome might set the direction(s) for rulebased systems (BRMS) for the next decade.

TECH, Dr. Forgy's new algorithm, will be discussed.

Several talks on Complex Event Processing (CEP) by the leaders in the field. Dr. Forgy has stated that this could well be one of the most important advances for rulebased systems for this century.

The Adolphus has dropped their room rates to $129 / night in order to encourage you to stay where the action is. BUT, we have only a limited number of rooms at this rate so get your reservation in early.

STUDENT FEES will be $150 which will also allow them to attend either of the boot camps. We just announced this and already students are signing up. Meaning that they might jolly well take up the conference slots so you need to hurry and get your conference registration NOW !!

Ping Pong / Table Tennis and/or Foosball has been cancelled due to lack of interest. Sorry about that. I was looking forward to a tournament kind of evening.

Speakers: New speakers and assistants - we have 30 of them now and it is a single track conference so you don't have to make those mind-wrenching decisions as to which one to attend.

White Papers and Presentations will be available during the conference for you to load on your computer to follow along.

Brochures will be available at the conference and electronically later this week. (Thanks, Chelanie). This will be a real keep-sake for your Golden Years.

So, if you haven't registered already, do so NOW. He who hesitates is lost. :-)