Business Rules Technology and Rule-Based Systems

"Inference Engines for Everyone"

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Link-SemanticWebTopicsandIndexes This page describes the taxonomy of semantic web topics adopted by the European projects.

The main link is to Oracle - Semantic Technologies Center. so far ....

BienvenudoWelcome The next BBDotCom site. The ever exanding e-empire ...

Business rules subjects.

Maybe paste top BR tutorial content into here.


Revised: Sept 25,2007

Modeling the Subject of "Rule-Based Systems"

Definitions can be seen assertions about relationship between well-defined terms, in other words things are defined in terms of other things. The terms and relationships associated with "rule-based systems" are ill-defined and make a rigorous definition nearly impossible to achieve.

"Well, remember that what an ideology is, is a conceptual framework with the way people deal with reality. Everyone has one. You have to -- to exist, you need an ideology. The question is whether it is accurate or not. And what I'm saying to you is, yes, I found a flaw."
- Alan Greenspan
"This model will be a simplification and an idealization, and consequently a falsification."
- Alan Turing

Welcome to Currently, this is site offers three categories of subject matter, collected into three different areas.


Welcome to Currently, this is site offers three categories of subject matter, collected into three different areas. Each has a different perspective or content format.

site diagram

1 - This area ( "Home" ) presents overviews of the site, plans for the future, general areas of interest and, not least, summaries of my professional history and experience.


testing ...

Where'sItAllGoing? As of Sept 16 2008:

It's over a year since I updated this page. It's not a terribly important page, not many people see it or care about it. Things have gotten done anyway, although I haven't had nearly enough time to do it all. There have been new installations of interesting applications, incremental improvements, inconsistencies ironed out, small battles won.


After an initial career start in marketing while pursuing an MBA at Pace Graduate School of Business, I got a foothold in the computer industry in 1979 as a Programmer Analyst for Stolt-Nielsen in Greenwich Connecticut.

In 1981, I joined International Systems at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in New York as a Senior Programmer Analyst.

DrupalContentManagmentSystem(CMS) Drupal ( meaning "drop" in Dutch, like a drop point ) is the CMS driving the Home and Development areas of this site. It is a mature, rigorous and efficent PHP development framework for web site development and is supported by a large international community. Documentation is availible in over 40 languages. The licence is open source under the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE of the Free Software Foundation, Inc. Useful Links: Drupal Site Drupal Handbooks

Humble Beginnings of Business Rules - From Toy to Powerhouse

From humble beginnings in the 1990s, business rules technology evolved into commercial-grade platforms capable of driving big and complex systems for Fortune 500 companies. Some technical infrastructures cost millions of dollars to implement and deploy. Business rules technology has become essential to the functioning of core business processes.


That invaluable tool, the Wikipedia, has the cleanest and concise definition of the term 'business rule' I've encountered. The Wikipedia defines business rule as:


Haley has an interesting take on the definition of business rules.



Note: this article first appeared as "An Intro to Service Oriented Architecture". The new "Intro to SOA" focuses primarly on the OASIS SOA Reference Architecture, which seems to be the most mature and complete of the SOA standards to date.

The Wikiopedia defines Service Oriented Architecture as:


IBM has an excellent introduction to SOA.


For a selection of short, concrete and graphical examples of SOA implementations ( sort of "SOA in 3 Minutes Flat" ), see the PHP SOA project homepage. The aim of the SOA PHP project is to create, as a community, an infrastructure that simplifies the development of PHP applications in a service oriented architecture environment (SOA). Perhaps significantly, the posting was authored by Graham Barber of IBM.

The link is


SOA programming models for implementing Web services

WhySOA?TechnicalTakes It is very useful to understand more technical definitions of SOA. In fact, they may have more descriptive power than business cases and justifications in shedding light on the subject. A good example of a technical approach is offered by the O'Reilly Webservice/XML site. In the article What Is Service-Oriented Architecture, the author offers the definition that
SOA is an architectural style whose goal is to achieve loose coupling among interacting software agents.

A company called SOA Software has a good analysis of the definition provided by Wikipedia. They are describe themselves as "the leading provider of comprehensive enterprise class SOA management, security, and governance solutions".

When viewing the page, note the "Solutions" menu to the left, containing some very concise and informative business cases for SOA .

Link-O'ReillyWebservices.XMLSite For the initiated, it would be difficult to describe the significance of O'Reilly Publishing and its impact on programming paradigms and standards in the computer industry over the last decade. Its developed into a series of a huge repositories of knowledge about web programming and the vast number of W3 and OMG standards.
Link-O'Reilly'sMainXMLSite O'Reilly's XML classic.
TheBusinessRulesManifesto teaser

Revised Dec 2 2008:: many new links

A Spot of Philosophy

Conceptual modeling has two disticnt aspects: one os concepts and the other is modeling. That may sound trivial, but within that statemnt are complexities and important consequences. One can be come almost mysitcal about it.


During the late 1980s, a group of academics investigating models of physical systems developed a set of guiding principles to help them perform simulations. The purpose was to perform an amazing and unprecedented feat of computation - predicting that water spilled on the top of a table would eventually drip on the floor.


The first mention of design patterns in relation to software was made in 1987 by Kent Beck and Ward Cunningham ( who also invented CRC Cards ). The idea of design patterns then kicked around for a few years, but became popular in 1994, with the classic text "Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software", edited by Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, et al.


Six Categories of Questions

Journalism majors know the drill by heart. The First Law of Journalistic Excellence, the 5 "Ws" of Reporting ( and an "H" throw in just to make life difficult for journalism students ). The Law states: every journalistic oeuvre must answer these eternal questions - who, what, when, where, why and how. That's a fine principle for overworked journalism students, but what about the rest of us, for example they who toil tirelessly in the murky mines of Infotechnology.


More detailed descriptions of the six categories.


The Zachman Framework is both powerful and flexible. There are several extensions and variations of the Zachman Framework available in the marketplace. In fact, it can be used as a form of 'meta-model' to map the features of two models.


From the OSI site:

Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to managing and promoting the Open Source Definition for the good of the community, specifically through the OSI Certified Open Source Software certification mark and program ...


Tentative conclusions about the SOA industry.

Link-SemanticWebResearchIsn'tWorking Interesting article on the slow takeoff of the Semantic Web.
Semantic web technology is marred in a chicken/egg paradox. The technologies are generally not useful unless they are adopted and implemented on a large scale and people are not willing to invest in implementing them unless they are useful. This is exacerbated by the fact that there are very high technology, business, and social barriers to implementing the semantic web.

Opera has several browser plugins and lively projects to build support for the Semantic Web.

One of most interesting plugins is the Tabulator RDF Browser Plugin. It's one of the few RDF tools that actually works.

The Tabulator Developers Notes ( and source code ) at MIT's DIG-CSAIL.



KnowledgeBasedandExpertSystems Field Assistant - Performance Sizer
MetadataandModelingTools Software Bill of Materials at Wang Excelerator at Intersolv

Drupal is a highly configurable, modular content management system.

Link to Development::Subject::Drupal


Updated: July 12 2008

A trove of links to old articles at


From the Oracle Business Rules fact sheet:

The Oracle Business Rules components consist of a Rules engine; a Rules SDK, and a Rule Author Tool. The Oracle Rules Engine is written in Java. It is fast and efficient and well integrated with both Java and XML.


OReily - Open Source Open Content Paradigm Shift

" ... the open source story is far from over, and its lessons far from completely understood. Rather than thinking of open source only as a set of software licenses and associated software development practices, we do better to think of it as a field of scientific and economic inquiry, one with many historical precedents, and part of a broader social and economic story".


Open Data sources available on the Web.


Added Jan 20 2009: new section for Business Rules of Thumb
Updated Sept 16 2008: new links

The Grand Daddy of business rules sites is Business Rule Community, run by Ron Ross. They make you sign up in order to see most of their articles, but it's well worth the time to sign up. The content is excellent. They send you a newsletter about once a month - no big mailing lists, no spamming.


Do business rules need to be rigidly enforced ?

Advances in information technology in the last 20 years have made it easier to purchase products and services. Although the impact of information technology has been stunning, I doubt if many customers would assert that technology has made it easier to deal with rigid customer support policies and processes, quite the opposite. It can take months to correct a business process or system processing error. This is often the result of overly constrained systems that cannot adapt to changing customer requirements or circumstances.


Updated Sept 27 2008: more links

Most of the methodologies described in these business rule sites are waaay more than is needed for a simple 'semantic web rule' methodology. They are shooting for 99.99% completeness and accuracy in transaction process systems that may be driving multi-billion dollar business units. The goals of this enterprise are far more modest.


From a Wikipedia discussion about Osterwalder, Pigneur and Tucci's definition of the term business model (sightly reformatted to make the nine "building blocks" more visible ):


Updated Sept 29 2008:

See: Inference Engines on the Dev. site

It is important ot remember that term 'business rules technology' is often associated with business process managment. From the Wikipedia article for the Business Rule Approach:

MoreDefinitionsfromHaley teaser
Links-OMGModelDrivenArchitectureforBusinessRules teaser

A note about the "Recent Changes" page. It describes changes to the structure of this site or to the Drupal Content Management System driving it. It really an administrative page for myself, to remind myself where I am in the myriad sub-projects that proliferate around a website.

DefinitionofaModel teaser

How did the Semantic Web begin ?

As most things do, the Semantic Web started small. An article in the May 2001 issue of Scientific American described a futuristic world where software agents automatically schedule an entire series of medical treatments via the Semantic Web.

The article states that:


The Object Web

The ideas of a "Semantic Web" had been around in various guises for several years prior to the Scientific American article. One precursor of the Semantic Web was the idea of "Web Objects" or the "Object Web" kicking around in the mid-1990s. The OMG was a big part of that phase of development of the technical infrastructure.

AuthoritativeDefinitionsoftheSemanticWeb teaser


A very interesting phenomena is Swoogle, a sort of Google for the Semantic Web

There is also an interesting comment on the Swoogle Blog, probably belonging more properly to previous section.


The End of Google ?

On June 26, 2006 at 5:20am EST, the Evolving Trends web site published an article entitled "Wikipedia 3.0: The End of Google?". By June 28th, two days later, the article had reached 650,000 people - by July 1st, it was being referenced by over 6,000 other sites and had been read by close to 2,000,000 people.


An old concept from AI, the semantic network, may have a second life in the Semantic Web. In a semantic network, ontologies of distinct types are interpreted within evaluation networks that get their meaning from the semantic relations in which they participate. In a sense, the subjects of the ontolgies discover their roles by consequence of relationships rather than by declaration or assignment.

TheSemanticWebisNOTWeb2.0...Well,NotExactly teaser

The main link is part of O'Reilly Publsihing's ever-widening archipelego of XML sites - many of the articles are not related to web service design patterns per se. Sometimes one gets the impression that the real purpose of design patterns is to sell books about design patterns, but they are very useful nevertheless.


In IBM's tutorial on Web service design patterns, they use several concrete examples of XML messaging. The result is interesting.

Consider one of the XML messages used in the example:


Good no-nonsense advice in the form of questions and answers about BPM. Unlike some overly-technical approaches to BPM, it shows a keen awareness of the importance of business rules and business issues in general.

Be prepared to zoom the text size in your browser.

Another good introduction and overview is Co-ordination Protocol and BPEL, which, despite its title, turns out to be solid business-oriented discussion of BPM issues. Some of the links do not seem to be functioning correctly.


The spec for the SOA Reference Model includes a very good discussion of the differences between the SOA approach and an OO ( "Object-Oriented" ) approach to web services, although strictly SOA is not about web services. In their definition, SOA is "a paradigm for organizing and utilizing distributed capabilities that may be under the control of different ownership domains". Sounds a bit vague to me, but it may be the clearest definition to date.

TheGreatSOAVersusOODebate teaser
Links-SemanticWebServices Revised Feb 23 2009: will get more attention in coming months

A year ago, the subject of Semantic Web Services might have been considered visionary. In fact, several of the early corporate efforts were canceled or abandoned ( such as Microsoft's GoDotNet ). At best, the technolgy has been static.

But that is not the case today. Several popular web development tools and packages ( such as the Drupal Services project ) are making the vision a concrete reality.


Update Nov 17 2009: interesting connections Semantic Mediawiki and my SemWiki Demo site

Update Oct 29 2008:

Interesting article about "A Wen of Rules" from 2003.

Also some Benjamin Grosof links from 2005.


A very thoughtful analysis of the Squeak community and its future, written in 2004.



From their SEKT in a Nutshell brochure:

SEKT is a European research and development project launched in January 2004 with a lifetime of three years ...

... SEKT is developing automated techniques for extracting meaning from the Web. By generating structured descriptions of Web pages (using ontologies) SEKT is making those pages machine-processable and enabling computers to analyse information more intelligently.


According to the Google Base site ( beta ), it is:

... a place where you can easily submit all types of online and offline content, which we'll make searchable on Google (if your content isn't online yet, we'll put it there). You can describe any item you post with attributes, which will help people find it when they do related searches. In fact, based on your items' relevance, users may find them in their results for searches on Google Product Search, Google Maps and even our main Google web search.

Key features:

OASISSpecificationsforSOAandWebServiceProcesses Reference Model for Service Oriented Architecture 1.0 Web Services Business Process Execution Language Version 2.0

The OMG ( Object Management Group ) is a consortium that sets standards for object-oriented systems and and model-based architectures.

Perhaps the most interesting page from a standards standpoint is the SOA Glossary.

The SOA glossary, provided by the SOA Community of Practice, contains general definitions of SOA terms as well as links to common definitions in industry and standards organizations such as OMG, Oasis, Open Group and W3C.


Revised Sept 7-12 2008: Added IBM and many other links

This site is primarily about open source solutions, so the honor of precedence goes to the Open SOA Collaboration. The organization is not very active, but it moves along over time.

From the home page:


Why the SOA Reference Architecture ?

The OASIS SOA Reference Architecture is one of the best introductions to SOA, providing a complete, consistent and largely non-technical set of concepts and definitions for SOA technology. It may be the easiest way to understand SOA without digging through volumes of arcane technical standards and XML specifications.

TheBaseDefinitionofServiceOrientedArchitecture(SOA) This is the definition of SOA from the Glossary in Appendix A.
Service Oriented Architecture is a paradigm for organizing and utilizing distributed capabilities that may be under the control of different ownership domains. It provides a uniform means to offer, discover, interact with and use capabilities to produce desired effects consistent with measurable preconditions and expectations.

The key elements are:


The central actor is services. A service, as the term is generally understood, also combines the following related ideas:

PhasesintheLifeofanSOAService The three phases in the life of an SOA service are:


The term visibility denotes the mechanism whereby a potential consumer finds a service provider.
Visibility is promoted through the service description which contains the information necessary to interact with the service and describes this in such terms as the service inputs, outputs, and associated semantics.
MoreAboutVisibility teaser
PoliciesandContracts teaser

The Reference Architecture describes the types of modeling tools one might employ in designing SOA services. The models are loosely defined to cover a wide range of possible tools and methodologies and, consequently, should be regarded as suggestive rather than indicative of how one would go about modeling an SOA-enabled application.

The six models can be classified very roughly into two types: those models that facilitate interaction and communication between service consumer and provider and the models that control the overall flow of the interactions over time.


One of the more confusing subjects covered in the Reference Architecture is execution context.

AIMeetsBusinessRulesandProcessManagement teaser
Link-ModelingRule-BasedSystemswithEMF Joe McKendrick capitalizing on service-oriented architecture, but interesting articles nonetheless.

It is interesting that the general view of rule-based systems as "rule-based expert systems" begs the question: is there such a thing as non-rule-based expert systems or rule-based non-expert systems ? I think the answer is yes.

For instance, the KBSC site mentions that the company "deals mostly with rulebased systems in the business world where they are sometimes referred to as Business Rule Management Systems, BRMS". In other words, rule-based non-expert systems, also know as business rules.


Oct 6 2009: added link, changed page title.


Peter Suber was a research professor at Earlham College until recently. His tutorials on logic and logical mathematics are among the most concise and accessible to be found on the web, and probably ever written.

From the preface to "Translation Tips":

In this hand-out I treat the notation of truth-functional propositional logic and first-order predicate logic as a language, and give guidance on translating from English into this foreign language.

Link-AnatomyofaRulesEngine The article is devoted to Windows Workflow Foundation ( WF ) and the Microsoft Business Rule Engine (MS BRE), but it is a good introduction to the workings of almost any inference/rule engine.
Links-BarbaraVonHalleonBusinessRules Updated Oct 6 2008: fixed bad links and added more links

Barbara Von Halle is a true pioneer in the discipline of business rules. She started with a series of important articles about business rules in Database Programming and Design magazine in the early 1990s and then just kept going. She founded Knowledge Partners International in 1996.


Business Skills

  • Technical Writing
  • Technology White Papers
  • Business Proposals
  • Business Requirements Management
  • Business Rules - Initiatives, Evaluations, Training

Technical Skills

  • C++
  • Smalltalk
  • Java
  • PHP
Link-OASISUniversalBusinessLanguage teaser

Getting the Ball Rolling

One often encounters situations where an proposed or existing project needs a clear vision or high business visibility, or one that is not completing its mission due to incomplete or outdated project plan.

I have a rare combination of technology, business and communication skills that allows me to pull together business specifications and technical designs in a short time.


Note: the article needs updating.

The Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities project ( SIOC ) has revised their web site. The content is better organized, more accessible and interactive ( using the Drupal CMS by the way ). The one-page guides provide a quick introduction to SIOC.


Updated Sept 7 2008: Found new link to Diane Cook lecture notes ...

Rule Based Systems and Artificial Intelligence

One of the better and more accessible rule-based system links is the student notes for a course on AI given by Jocelyn Paine in 1996.

The Jocelyn Paine definition of rule-based systems:

Link-UsingSemanticWebTechnologiestoIntegrateSoftwareComponents teaser

Jan 25 2009 - Added Named Graph links
Note to self Sept 10 2008 - This thing needs work.
Revised: April 4 2008. This disordered mess of links cleaned up, except for a few strays.

See Semantic Web at

Examples of RDF and stray stuff:


Most of the content about technical aspects of Information Technology is on the Development site, including information about specific business-rule products, rule engine design, computer languages, etc. Follow one of the the links listed below for more technically oriented content.

LinksandStuff teaser

A brief explanation about the unwieldy structure of this document.


New Definitions for 'Semantic Web Rule Based Systems' ?

Many of the potential obstacles to adoption of the Semantic Web are similar if not identical to the prbblems faced by rule-based systems in the late 1980s. Therefore, the business rules methodology may be a good guide for development of the Semantic Web.

First, some basic principles.


In Search of Definitions

What were the major obstacles that delayed the adoption of rule-based systems as a mainstream technology for the first 15 years of it existence ?
  • Lack of consistent focus on the problem domain - particularly lack of business focus the application was an example of technology rather than catriona
  • Lack a rigorous methodology -
ATentitiveDefintionofRulesfortheSemanticWeb Oct 21 2008: the Wikipedia entry for "Knowledge Technologies" deleted recently, we seem to be going backwards ...
Links-DedreGentnerPublicationsatNorthwestern teaser

Updated Sept 16 2008

An interesting collection of people and papers at the UCLA Graduate Summer School 2007, Probabilistic Models of Cognition: The Mathematics of Mind ( encrypted for some reason ). What better way to spend one's summer.


According to Wikipedia, the definition of CommonKADS is "a methodology to support structured knowledge engineering."

An interesting variation includes Multiagent Systems ( MAS-CommonKADS ). In the article A Methodological Proposal for Multiagent Systems Development extending CommonKADS, the major constituents of the CommonKADS Agent are:


Links-GridComputingandtheSemanticGrid teaser
Links-OntologiesandOrganizations teaser
March26th2008-TheBigDayfortheAAAI2008SpringSymposia teaser

Tons of interesting aritcles at the System and Software Engineering lab (SSEL) ... many need a bit of googling to find them all.

Many links can be found on the VUB Publications page. Also check out the thesises ... thesii ? ...

The general basis of many of the articles is Aspect Oriented Programming, but the focus at VUB is business rules and rule-based systems.



A terse refutation of the 10 top reasons given for not using a business rules approach, not necessarily good reasons of course.

The usual suspects include such classics as "it didn't run fast on our 486 66Mz computer in 1988" and "our rules are too complex for a rule engine [ god help'em ]" and eight other great excuses for procedural determinism.

Actually, it's not ten reasons, only nine - see item #6.



Link-UniversalBusinessLanguage(UBL) teaser

Workflow modeling can be a very technically-oriented subject, often requiring that the practitioner understanding a specialized notation. Most of this content is on the Development site ( link above ).


LinktoInferenceEngineSubjects Most of the technically-oriented content on the subject of inference engines is on the Development site.
LinktoLogicandInferencinginOldTutorial An old article but still pertinent. I'd like to believe that logic never goes out of style, but given the history of ...
Links-BusinessProcesses A few links, so far.

From the article:

Link-OntologiesforBioinformatics This article on ontologies in bioinformatics seeks to resolve problems in the standardization of nomenclature in the domain of biology and bioinformatics for text mining and data integration. While intended primarily for biotech, it is very concise and well-formulated and useful to anyone constructing an ontology.
Link-TheMotherofAllFlowcharts Think you've worked on some complex business applications ? Check out the flowchart for "Biochemical Pathways".

Feb 19 2009: added MoinMoin bounties.
Note from Nov 25 2008: Apparently, making a living from Open Source is a big subject whose time has arrived, if the number of hits on this page is any indication. This section will grow and may split in the coming months.


From Wikipedia:

Links-KnowledgeRepresentationandtheSemanticWeb Updated Oct 3 2008:

The representation of knowledge in general, particularly as it applies to the SemWeb.

From the site:

Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, Incorporated (KR, Inc.) is a Scientific Foundation incorporated in the state of Massachusetts of the United States of America concerned with fostering research and communication on knowledge representation and reasoning.




Revised: Sept 25,2007

Modeling the Subject of "Rule-Based Systems"

Definitions can be seen assertions about relationship between well-defined terms, in other words things are defined in terms of other things. The terms and relationships associated with "rule-based systems" are ill-defined and make a rigorous definition nearly impossible to achieve.

Links-BusinessRulesandSOA teaser

About recent software patents granted on algorithms and coding techniques that have been in common usage for at least 25 years.

Links-W6VocabulariesfortheSemanticWeb W6 vocabularies ( ontologies ) allow resource descriptions and reasoning based on the 6 questions : who, why, what, when, where, and how. ( better called "W5-H" ? )



RuleEngineHorrorStories Updated Oct 20 2008:

There were some interesting responses to an article at the blog site about rule engine performance.

A comment by Greg Barton outlines a disaster story about the inappropriate use of a rule engine to implement transaction processing for a large telecom application.


Sept 16 2008:

Two years after creating the "Major Projects" category, I finally decided to post something to it. I had originally intended to have a separate page for each of a dozen or so my best projects. I've have not had the time to write the pages and also have not felt a real need or motivation to do either.

ADebateAboutSOAVersusObjects teaser

Updated Sept 7 2008: created

In Search of a Definition

First note that there really are no good definitions of business rule methodology available - the main link is to Wikipedia's definition of business rules, where they state simply "Business Rules Methodology is the process of capturing business rules in English, in real-time while empowering users to manage rules with a few simple steps". What are the simple steps that empowering users to manage rules ? And do they really have to be in English ?


Best practices for business rules.


LogicalInference Republished Jan 16 2009, from a an old tutorial article. Will be expanded and revised in coming months. Also see InterWiki on Logical Reasoning.

The Basics of Logic

Much of the complexity of a collection of rules arises from interactions between logical expressions within the rules ( also called logical 'terms' ). Unless rule base designers work assiduously to simplify rule expressions, they will be rapidly overwhelmed by the complexity of the rule base.


The three modes of logical inference are deduction, induction and abduction. At this point it may be may be helpful to look at formal definitions of the terms.


Wikipedia defines deductive reasoning as:


Most of classical Greek logic is based on the principle of the excluded middle. The basic structure is an observation, a rule and a conclusion. The most famous example of a logical expression is the deduction:


Expressed in the inductive form, the same set of assertions about Socrates would be:




Socrates is a man

Socrates is mortal

Therefore All men are mortal

The same rule could be epxressed graphically.



The final form of inference is abduction often called ( somewhat falsely ) by the name of " false deduction". However, abductive inference it is not always false.

Abduction is the "guilt by association" mode of inference. The question of deduction is not "what logical conclusions can I infer" but rather "does it have a certain something ?". The abductive form of the classical expression:



Identifying things by a single characteristic is not the way abductive inference works in the real world. Someone performing a classification task would use a full set of 'relevant' characteristics in order to identify Socrates as either a man or a cat. Does he have fur, how many legs does he walk on, etc. There would be a rough sense of fitness of the match between the characteristics of the thing and the categories being tested, sometimes expressed as a "distance function" between the thing being tested and the ideal.


Solving Difficult Problems

Abductive reasoning is similar to reasoning by analogy - the process of equating a well-understood thing with a poorly-understood thing in order to solve a difficult problem that could not be solved directly. In effect, analogy substitutes important characteristics of the known thing for those of the unknown, based on the similarity of their shared characteristics.

LogicfortheHeckofIt sdfvsdfv
Links-BusinessRuleLanguages Oct 14 2008:: A new subject ... maybe a new category.

In some ways, business rule languages represent the "soft underbelly" of the business rules approach. They can be arcane pseudo-languages reserved for highly trained specialists, which tends to defeat the original purpose of business rules and limit their value to business people.



Feb 6 2009: Fair Isaac and ILOG Rules for COBOL.
Oct 20 2008: extracted from another article and expanded.

Every few years for the past 20 years, there has been an initiative to bring a higher level of information technology to the health care industry. It gives one a strong sense of having seen it all before.

MakingaLivingfromOpenSourceSoftware Updated March 20 2009:

The best and most complete survival guide for serious open source development is Producing Open Source Software - How to Run a Successful Free Software Project. It is free, comes in various formats, is full of useful advice and best practices for open source developers. It is even well-organized and well-written.

Now you've got all the tools necessary for success in open source, what are you waiting for ? A product idea, perhaps ? ;-)



Aug 29 2009: skeleton of some ideas.

From Wikipedia:


Oct 5 2009: not sure if this article is bloggable. What to do about links. New wiki ?

Sept 14 2009: created

Oct 2 2009: See latest H1B news on Digg.

What is the H1B Program ?

A good, no-nonsense description of the often-bewildering H1B program at Wisegeek, with some small clarifications and edits. Note that the description is cast from the H1B employer perspective.

TheLynchpinintheH1BProcess-LaborConditionApplications(LCA) teaser

Sept 17 2009: a work in progress

The Spirit of 1776

"If America so much as considers making a stocking or a horseshoe nail, she shall feel the full weight of British might." - Lord Chatham, 1766

As I see it, the major obstacle to ending the damage wrought on Americans by the H1B program is Americans themselves, especially the estimated 500,000 American techies who have been displaced. Frankly, I'm not sure why.


Many American universities are closing down their IT degree programs. Why ?

AmericanVoices-TheStruggleAgainsttheH1BProgram teaser

... the job site for Business Rule Engine Architects.

Not all are statutory H1B postings, some are definitely non-H1B agencies. Others say explicitly that they offer no HB1 sponsorships, perhaps because they already have their own H1Bs lined up for the contract ? It's possible.

Suspiciously, some ask for a bunch of exotic rule engine and other skills ( unlikely that they will find the skills locally ) ... then they offer a rate of $40-45 ( H1B territory ). Ouch.


There seems to be growing interest in business rules management.


A platform for massive distributed incomplete reasoning that will remove the scalability barriers of currently existing reasoning systems for the Semantic Web.


If you depend on Google for information about the H1B program, you will find numerous references to articles about getting work in America from AsiaTimes.Com and other web sites devoted to promoting the interests of the H1B industry, along with thinly-disguised advertisements by the immigration law industry on how to find H1B jobs and sponsors for H1B jobs in America.

In other words, you will find very few articles about the growing opposition by Americans to the H1B program. Don't ask why, it just is.


Here's an interesting aside. What it would take to be the equivalent of an American H1B in India.

Would it be xenophobic to suggest that America have the same visa requirements for Indian nationals working IT jobs in America as Americans would face for the same jobs in India ?

Based on the rules for obtaining an Indian Employement Visa, these are my suggested improvements for the H1B system:


See the new article on - IT Outsourcing and the "Unemployable" US Tech Professional. Apparently, it was intended to be a defense of American IT, but you have to squint a bit and read between the lines to see it.

April is the month that the Federal Government hands out H1B visas for the next year so, not coincidentally, this is the time when articles bad-mouthing American IT professionals bloom forth like daffodils.

Other BBcom-related sites - Quick Links




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