Any prior art?: An upcoming patent for an XSL implementation technique
I have just had an odd conversation with a Dr. Uvbin Hadson (a distant relative as it happens) from the Lifford Institute of Electrochemical Sciences. The conversation was both intriguing and worrying. Dr. Handson claims to have developed an implementation of XSLT 1.0 (http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-xslt-19991116) that is now feature complete apart from some miscellaneous functions (unparsed-entity-uri() for example). But here is the kicker: the implementation is based on a patent pending trancoding of the infoset (http://www.w3.org/TR/xml-infoset/) into molecular structures. Once transcoded into molecular form, the transformation essentially consists of the simultaneous application of nano-templates (basically chemical reactions) that transform the source XML per the XSLT stylesheet. Handson claims that the side-effect free nature of XSL is key to this implementation as all templates can be executed *simultaneously* to generate the result infoset very, very quickly. (http://www.biglist.com/lists/xsl-list/archives/199906/msg00406.html). At the end of the process, a reverse transcoding takes place to convert the hydrocarbon compound back to serialized XML in UTF-8. The performance and scalability figures he cites are truly mind-boggling! Apparantly, the approach is based on treating XSL templates as nano-machines that exert force on the molecules in ways that can be controlled to implement particular transformations. Using something called the "Born-Oppenheimer approximation", if you know the positions r1, r2, .... rN of N nuclei representing element nodes, then E(r1, r2, .... rN) gives the potential energy of the system. Knowing the potential energy as a function of the nuclear positions, means you can determine and then control the forces acting on the individual nuclei. This allows you to control the evolution of theirs positions over time and thus implement arbitrary XSLT transformations. Unlike other workers in the field, who prefer diamond and isobutane for representing structures, Dr Hadson is experimenting with commodity hydrocarbons and sulphates for infoset representation e.g (CaSO4)H20 and c2H5Oh. Hadson himself is not in favour of patenting his method but he is under pressure from his employers to do so. Personally, I hope this stuff does not get patented or we could be in an analagous situation to the "gene wars". A US supreme court ruling from 1980 permits the patenting of some organisms found in nature... Hadson's methods seems to me to be certainly novel but I am not a guru is this area. Is anyone aware of any prior art that might skupper the patent plans? Dr Hadson does not subscribe to this list but he can be contacted at Uvbin.Hadson@p.... regards, Sean McGrath
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