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Risch conflates an idea with its implementation | 67 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Risch conflates an idea with its implementation
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 16 2012 @ 08:15 PM EST
First off, thank you very much for taking the time to reply.

Secondly, thank you for correcting me and explaining your position. I have the
conference on in the background while working on other things, so what I wrote
is what I took away from it.

That being said, I think that the issue with presenting it that way is that any
general purpose computer can compute anything we understand to be computable,
though perhaps not efficiently. Once you have a problem of computation you have
an implementation that is more or less obvious, so long as the mathematics is
understood (often by being subsumed in the design of the computer and the
high-level languages used to program it). You are right in that stating the
problem in such a way that is computable is not necessarily obvious, but I don't
believe that such a problem statement could possibly be patentable, although I'm
open to examples. Are you suggesting that the mere recognition that a problem
has a computable solution should count as a patentable discovery?

The only other two categories of subject matter I can think of which could
potentially be patentable would fail for being natural laws/mathematics/etc.
These would be: new categories of computable functions and more efficient
algorithms, although if they could be embodied in hardware that becomes a more
interesting problem, depending on how you feel about equivalence.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Risch conflates an idea with its implementation
Authored by: jimrandomh on Monday, November 19 2012 @ 12:07 PM EST
What I said is that most software engineers believe that implementation is obvious once you identify the problem. Coming up with the idea/problem is NOT always obvious - often, but not always.

This seems strange to me. I think that, by using the word obviousness, you may be drawing the wrong distinction. Once the problem is identified, there is a lot of work - usually more than 99% of it - still to be done in the implementation. However, that work is mere work; while there may be some insights involved, they are of the sort that a competent programmer can be expected to have, if they work on it for awhile. You're trying to frame the question as a matter of where in the process the large non- obvious insight is located, but there usually just isn't one; it's just a lot of work on a pile of details. Unfortunately, the sorts of details typically contained in patents do not relate to that work at all - they aren't the product of it and they don't help with it.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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