Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Algorithm Derby

How many of us have had this idea? You have a problem to solve, and more than one way to do it. You're not sure which is fastest, so you hold a race. Let all your algorithms take a whack at it on parallel processors and use whichever result shows up first.

Well, the patent for that idea was issued to NCR in 1997.

From the abstract:

A parallel search method for a parallel processing computer which employs different and competing search procedures to search a collection of data. A search problem is formulated by a data management application. The competing search procedures are created from the formulation of the search problem and pre-existing rules. The competing procedures are executed. Additionally, execution of the competing search procedures may be monitored to obtain information about the effectiveness of the competing procedures, and the competing procedures may be changed based upon the information. In those search cases where a time limit is necessary, a timer is started at the start of execution, and a solution is returned to the data management application.

At this point I have no word on whether NCR is licensing this patent or not.

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