close this bookVolume 1: No. 22
View the documentNews -- research moves
View the documentNews -- Industry news
View the documentNews -- surveys
View the documentNews -- career help
View the documentNews -- job opportunities
View the documentNews -- neural-network theory and practice
View the documentTools -- Neural-network/AI literature

ONR is seeking a successor to Alan Meyrowitz, according to Maria Zemankova ( The Office of Naval Research, Computer Science Division, wants a PhD-level computer scientist as Research Manager of Intelligent Systems, GM-14/15, $52,406 - $80,138. The program currently includes machine learning, natural language understanding, robotics, neural computing, and machine vision. The research manager must identify, articulate, and support high-risk/high-payoff basic research in intelligent systems. ONR is the third-largest funding source for basic computer science research in the U.S., with nearly all Computer Science Division research performed at U.S. universities. Request Vacancy Announcement 91-31 by 10/25/91 for official application forms and instructions. OCNR, Personnel Operations, Code 01242, 800 North Quincy St., Arlington, VA 22217-5000; (703) 696-4705. Questions to Dr. Andre M. van Tilborg (, (703) 696-4312.

Su-shing Chen (from UNCC) is NSF's new Program Director for Knowledge Models and Cognitive Systems. (This is primarily an AI/NL program, part of Y.T. Chien's IRIS division.) The previous program officer, Helen Gigley, is now head of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, Naval Research Lab, Code 5530, Washington, DC 20375; (202) 767-0718; (

Jim Rutledge is taking over from Gene Feit as Sematech's director of university and national laboratory programs. Jim was formerly director of Sematech's Centers of Excellence program. [SJ Mercury, 8/21.]

Boston's Computer Museum has named Suhas Patil to its board. Patil is chairman and executive VP of products and technology at Cirrus Logic (Milpitas, CA). [SJ Mercury, 8/17.]

The new ACM SIGART chair is Stuart C. Shapiro (shapiro Alan Frisch is the vice-chair and Marianne Winslett is secretary-treasurer. [SIGART Bulletin, 8/91.]

Hitachi and TRW's Space and Technology Group have agreed to long-term cooperation on space-related technology. Near-term projects involve information systems enabling spacecraft to fly "without undue guidance from the ground." Long-term research will include robotics and sensor systems. [EE Times, 7/29.]

ACM SIGART, AAAI, CSCSI, and SMIA have just published The 1991 AI Directory. It seems to have about twice as many names as the old AAAI directory did.

Siemens AG claims to have an AI-based "context understanding" system that can translate 200 pages per day. It's called METAL, for Machine Evaluation and Translation of Natural Language. [Harvey P. Newquist III, AI Expert, 8/91.]

Xerox uses machine translation for 50,000 documents per year. It sells the 95%-accurate Xerox ViewPoint Translation Interface (VP-MTI) through Systran. Available languages are English, Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish, and French. [Harvey P. Newquist III, AI Expert, 8/91.]

InfoWorld (8/12) reports that a New Mexico court is considering whether software licensing is ownership. (The state is attempting to collect property taxes, and claims that the software vendor owns all copies of its software.) [Kent Mulliner (, PACS-L, 8/15.]

There's been a big fuss on several Usenet news lists about NJ Assembly Bill 4414, which would require licensing of all software designers in the state. The many concerned programmers contacting Rep. Barbara Kalik must have had an effect. Rich Rauscher ( says that her office admits the bill is vague and not the most important thing they are worrying about. Kalik will amend the bill, but it may be a while before it is reintroduced -- if ever. Raymond Lesniak, Chairman of the Senate Labor, Industry & Professions Committee, appears to be opposed to the bill. [, 8/19.]

The world has 70 million personal computers, and 70% are IBM-compatible. IBM itself has about 15% of the PC marketplace, a $55B industry. [Dataquest. Lawrence J. Magid, Computer Currents, 8/13.] (What do you get when you cross IBM and Apple? IBM. [Evan L. Marcus, rec.humor.funny. USA Today.])

Business is the largest computer market, and business is saturated with PCs. Then next big step is into personal or desktop workstations. (The step after that will be intelligent, customizable software! Trust me!) Silicon Graphics is the leader in 3-D graphics/multimedia workstations, and is well-connected with the ACE consortium -- including MIPS, Microsoft, DEC, Compaq, and many others. Its IRIS Indigo workstations are $10,000, but prices are dropping fast.

Tim Bajarin [Computer Currents, 8/13] points out that Sun, DEC, and HP are already going after the business market with $5,000 LAN client servers. Sun is doing quite well with its SPARC chip and the Unix International consortium. HP has its own RISC chip and is a member of the Open Software Foundation. Silicon Graphics and the ACE members are counting on MIP chips and Microsoft's OS/2 operating system. Apple and IBM will use IBM's RS/6000 chip, second-sourced by Motorola. NeXT may be out on a limb with a proprietary UNIX running on a Motorola chip that no one else is using. Bajarin suggests that NeXT may have to join IBM and Apple if it is to attract developers.

NeXT Computers (Palo Alto, CA) is doing well. Its sales were up 86% this quarter. 70% of its workstations went to industry and government, the rest to universities. Also, 49% of sales were in Europe and Asia. The company is particularly targeting financial, medical, and legal service companies. It is also expecting success in Japan with its display PostScript capabilities and new Kanji operating system. NeXT also claims that its object-oriented operating system is three to five years ahead of competitors, and that NeXT application development takes a fifth as long. [Ian Stokell, Newsbytes. Computer Currents, 8/13.]

Apple and Adobe have decided to be friends again. Apple will begin supporting Adobe's "Type 1" fonts without requiring the separate ATM software package, and will probably allow Adobe's cubic-spline system to become dominant over its own quadratic TrueType fonts. [Lee Gomes, SJ Mercury, 8/21.] (Designers say that Adobe-style fonts are easier to create, but that TrueType maintains detail better in small, complex characters.)

Symantec (Cupertino, CA) is acquiring Zortech (Woburn, MA), a company that makes compilers and tools for C++. Symantec markets the Think C (formerly Lightspeed C) compiler, which provides object-oriented capabilities for the Mac. This acquisition strengthens Symantec's position in the C++ market, including DOS, Windows, and UNIX environments. [SJ Mercury, 8/14.] (It's easy to make money in software. Just run a business as best you can until someone agrees to buy you out.)

Still hungry, Symantec is acquiring Dynamic Microprocessor Associates Inc. (DMA), Huntington, NY. DMA makes a product for linking PCs with networks. [SJ Mercury, 8/21.] (The market is reforming around several open standards -- as opposed to proprietary operating systems -- and multiplatform companies will have the best chance of prospering. Symantec will prosper, even though its own product development has not been impressive.)

Weitek Corp. (Sunnyvale, CA) has formed a User Interface Processors division under Arthur H. Reidel and a Workstation Products division under Timothy J. Propeck. [SJ Mercury, 8/20.]

McDonnell Douglas Corp. is selling its engineering software division to Electronic Data Systems Corp. (Dallas, TX). [SJ Mercury, 8/20.]

The Computational Lexicon Working Group of the Text Encoding Initiative is compiling a survey of lexical databases for use by natural language processing systems. (This does not include machine-readable dictionaries, which are covered by a different working group.) Thirty systems have been identified so far, including: UK: Alvey, SRI-Cambridge, Edinborough, Sussex, Manchester ET, DATR, UK-Eurotra; France: LADL (Paris VII), IRIT, Gsi-ERLI, Eurotra-France; The Netherlands: Utrecht (Lexic project, Mimo), University of Amsterdam, BSO DLT, Philips/Rosetta; Finland: IBM Finland; Switzerland: ISSCO (GB-Parsing, ELU, French unification grammar, MT), Avalanche report MT system; Italy: Pisa, Trento, Venice, Eurotra Italy; Belgium: Brussels (KRS), Metal-Leuven; Germany: Saarbruecken, Stuttgart, Bonn (IKP Center), Tuebingen, GMD, Eurotra Germany; Greece: Eurotra Greece; Canada: METEO, Toronto, Simon Fraser; USA: BBN (Delphi, IRUS), Brandeis/CTI lexicon, MIT (Spoken Language System, Fast Parser), IBM (Lexical Resources, Stochastic Grammar, MT), NYU Proteus, CMU (Spoken Language System, MT), Unisys, AT&T (Spoken Language System, Fidditch), Bellcore, UMaryland, NMSU (CRL, MT), ISI (MT, Generation), HP Labs, SRI, Xerox PARC (LFG, MT), Boeing- Washington. All who respond to Robert Ingria ( by 9/15/91 will receive a copy of the final standards proposal. [NL-KR, 8/16.]

Roberto Battiti ( is collecting info on commercial applications of neural networks, both R&D and fielded. This is for the Esprit Exploratory Action on Neurocomputing, and a summary will be made available by the end of the year. [Neuron Digest, 8/12.]

Tessa Rickards ( is compiling references in validation and verification of neural nets as part of a UK-sponsored tech-transfer activity of the LINNET Neural Network Club. [Connectionists, 7/24.]

The Consultants and Consulting Organizations Directory is looking for data. You can get a free listing by writing to the editor, P.O. Box 6789, Silver Spring, MD 20916, (301) 871-5280, for a questionnaire. [Nigel Allen (nigel.allen@canrem.uucp),, 8/14.]

Calton Pu ( passed me an announcement from Nancy Leveson ( of the Computing Research Associations' new Committee on the Status of Women in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. (CRA was known as the Computer Research Board until 1988.) Co-chairs are Maria Klawe (UBC) and Nancy Leveson (UC Irvine). Joan Feigenbaum ( is in charge of databases; Marilyn Livingston ( will coordinate potential speakers; Fran Berman ( is editor of the CRA Newsjournal; and Thelma Estrin ( is developing a career booklet. Other projects are also available. The committee is looking for men and women willing to promote women's participation in computing research and education.

Rieva Lesonsky, editor of Entrepreneurial Women (Irvine, CA), says there are 559,000 women-owned businesses in California, 58% higher than in 1982. Gross receipts in 1987 were more than $31B, up 157% since 1982. The state's Office of Small and Minority Businesses provides help, but raising capital is a problem. (Many women start service businesses, which require less capital. Income from the service sector tends to be less than in manufacturing and sales.) Other states with many women entrepreneurs are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. [AP, SF Chronicle, 8/12.]

Lucy Sibley's Iowa State University study of the retail clothing industry shows that women with mentors do advance somewhat more quickly than those without. Assigned mentors are of some help, but mutually initiated relationships were the most productive. Women chosen by mentors were often dedicated, hard working, intelligent, and enthusiastic. (Surely that alone is cause for advancement!) [Carol Kleiman, Chicago Tribune. SJ Mercury, 7/28.] Unfortunately, executive men given free choice often choose young men like themselves to mentor. This can strengthen the glass ceiling against women in management.

Executives in information systems take about six weeks longer to find jobs than do executives in other functions, according to at least one New York IS placement firm. This is because their their resumes cite platforms and projects rather than business accomplishments. [Clinton Wilder, Computerworld, 8/12.] (If you don't exude the dominant management culture, you build your own glass ceiling.)

Open Options is an online vocational information system with 18 million items from the Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your PC or Mac can search 40 job and industry codes (DOT title or number, BOE, DPT, SOC, ID, OAP, etc.) and the associated job characteristics and career outlooks. Jim Danielski, (313) 459-7348. [,, 8/16.] (This is the sort of thing that you might tap at your library or placement center. You could also get hardcopy from the government, probably for free. Matthew Lesko's books might help locate the appropriate agencies.)

Northern Telecom Ltd. is offering three-year employment guarantees to new EE/CS hires. The company needs 700 graduates this year. (There wouldn't be any age-discrimination issues hiding here, would there?) Other engineering companies have resisted signup bonuses, pointing out that new hires are seldom the victims of downsizing. Training costs can be equal to the first year's salary, and all good companies hope to keep recruits longer than three years. [Nadine Basie, EE Times, 7/22.]

The MIT/Stanford Venture Laboratory is beginning its '91-92 season. This is a nonprofit organization sponsored by the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Bay Area and the Stanford Alumni Association. Each program presents and critiques the business plan of an emerging technology-based Bay Area company. $25 for the Sept. 11 meeting, or $30 after 9/4/91. Contact Monica Galland or Beth Dungan, (415) 725-0688. [Hanson Cheah (, ba.seminars, 8/16.] (Feel free to discuss your own business plan with the Computists, either in the Communique or by email.)

"I didn't like my job because I had to check my brain at the door when I came to work," says a PG&E clerical supervisor. You did what you were told to do and nothing more; that was policy. PG&E has now implemented an exemplary "employee involvement" plan that shifts responsibility down the pyramid. No longer does it take 13 signatures to promote an employee, nor weeks to resolve a customer complaint. A layer of management has been eliminated -- saving $8M per year -- and customer satisfaction has risen to 98%. One division now lays three times as much cable, with no increase in workers. "Work is a lot more fun when you have some autonomy," says Diane Margetich. [Steve Kaufman, SJ Mercury, 8/11.]

SRI's Computer Science Lab (Palo Alto, CA) needs an MS experienced with language tools and syntax-directed machine translation. LISP, C, C++, and theorem-proving experience helpful. Dr. Mark Moriconi. [Elizabeth Luntzel (, 8/15.]

The Environments and Systems Department of HP Labs (Palo Alto, CA) is looking for a PhD/equivalent to develop multiprocessor operating systems. Dr. Paula Hawthorn ( [Roy D'Souza (, 8/16.]

The School of Computing and Information Technology at Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia) needs a PhD Research Fellow to work on deductive, object-oriented database systems. Contact Prof. Rodney Topor ( by 9/6/91. [, 8/14.]

North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro, NC) is establishing a software engineering center in the Dept. of EE. Faculty positions are available for PhD/CS candidates, especially those with industrial experience. Dr.P.K. Lala ( [Krishna C. Yaralagadda ( [, 8/14.]

Intel's Supercomputer Systems Division (Hillsboro, OR) needs a senior computational scientist in parallel programming and numerical linear algebra. [Nancy Martin (nmartin, 8/15.]

HP's Software Technology Division (Mountain View, CA) needs a BS/MS R&D software design engineer to develop SGML electronic publishing tools. Wesley Cheng ( [Ashmeet Sidana (, 8/15.]

The University of York, Dept. of CS, has been seeking a 21- month Research Associate in vision by associative reasoning for aerial scene interpretation. The project in parallel distributed systems involves British Aerospace, Defence Research Agency (formerly RSRE) - Malvern, and USurrey. Dr. Edwin Hancock ( [Neuron Digest, 8/12.]

A new graphics-oriented consulting agency is soliciting resumes and contracting jobs in scientific visualization, image processing, CAD/CAM, GIS, and GUI. Contact Mark J. McCallum, P.O. Box 6178, Kingston, NY 12401. [(,, 8/15.] (This is how you start an agency, folks!)

Ralph Barletta reports on a study -- apparently one presented at IJCAI '89 by S.M. Weiss and I. Kapouleas -- benchmarking two case-based inductive learning techniques against two neural networks and four traditional pattern recognition techniques on five real-world datasets. Inductive learning was slightly more accurate than the much slower neural techniques and was much more accurate than traditional pattern recognition. Output from the case-based systems was also easier to interpret. [AI Expert, 8/91.] (This may be old news to CBR and neural-network researchers. The new news is that this factoid is entering the general CS consciousness through a tutorial article in a general- readership magazine. Such pearls of knowledge can have an influence on graduate students and research funding agencies.)

Hava T. Siegelmann ( and Eduardo D. Sontag ( have reportedly shown that neural networks are universal computing devices. They demonstrate that a universal Turing machine can be constructed from fewer than 100,000 linearly connected synchronously evolving processors in a recurrent neural network that uses saturated-linear threshold functions. (Previous work by Pollack, Franklin/Garzon, Hartley/Szu, and Sun assumed high-order connections or potentially infinitely many neurons). [Neuron Digest and Connectionists, 6/9.]

Jordan Pollack ( says of his own work that he has shown it is sufficient to have rational values (to store an unbounded tape), multiplicative connections (to gate the rational values), and thresholds (to make decisions). [Neuron Digest.]

Ron Sun ( claims that neural-net implementations of rule-based reasoning are able to implement commensense reasoning patterns better than do traditional rule- based systems. His paper, Connectionist Models of Rule-Based Reasoning, is available as from pub/neuroprose on [Neuron Digest.]

(To access neuroprose files from an internet UNIX host, use anonymous FTP to (or Specify password "neuron" and connect to directory pub/neuroprose. Specify "binary", then get the file you need. You will have to use the UNIX uncompress program for any filename ending in .Z, and will need PostScript printing for any document with .ps in the name. If you are on Bitnet, there is a fileserver called bitftp@pucc.bitnet that will retrieve data files. Send it the one-line message "help" to get instructions.)

Roger Jones ( and 12 other authors have compiled a LANL technical report, LAUR-91-273, on "Nonlinear Adaptive Networks: A Little Theory, A Few Applications." They present the theory of feed-forward backpropagation, connectionist normalized linear spline networks (feed-forward and recurrent), and adaptive stochastic cellular automata, then discuss applications to chaotic time series, tidal prediction in Venice Lagoon, sonar transient detection, control of nonlinear processes, balancing a double inverted pendulum, and design advice for free electron lasers. Contact Roger for reprints. [Roger D. Jones, Neuron Digest, 8/15.]

Andrew Webb ( has published a literature survey, "Potential Applications of Neural Networks in Defence" (or similar). [John S. Bridle (, Neuron Digest.]

Stevan Harnad ( has a paper to appear in A. Clark and R. Lutz (eds.) "Connectionism in Context," Springer-Verlag, 1992. It discusses categorical perception and the relationship of neural networks to symbol systems. Internet members can get it via anonymous FTP of file harnad92.symbol.object.Z from pub/harnad on Use binary retrieval and the UNIX uncompress program.

For a related tech report on "High-Level Perception, Representation, and Analogy: A Critique of AI Methodology," FTP the binary postscript file pub/ from After uncompressing, use "lpr -P(your_postscript_printer)" to print it. If you can't manage the conversion, contact dave for hardcopy. The paper is by David J. Chalmers, Robert M. French, and Douglas R. Hofstadter (Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition, Indiana University. Their thesis is that hand-coded representations (e.g., in BACON and the Structure-Mapping Engine) are counterproductive; perception cannot be separated from cognitive processing. They then present their own Copycat architecture.

Tom Tollenaere (orban@blekul13.bitnet) has compiled a tech report on the use of transputers and parallel machines to simulate neural networks. It includes 50 researchers' addresses and a bibliography of 100 papers. Tom has offered to mail copies of the report and to keep the list current. He is at the Laboratorium voor Neurofysiologie, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven - Belgium. [Neuron Digest.]

Michael Cohen ( of the Boston University Center for Adaptive Systems has offered to merge contributed BiBTeX-format neural-network bibliographies and make them available for FTP. At least one component, the Hertz/Krogh/Palmer bibliographic database, is already available in the neuroprose directory. [Connectionists.]

Philip Chapnick reviewed several good books on knowledge representation (AI Expert, 6/91). For a pragmatic, how-to discussion, he particularly recommends Han Reichgelt's Knowledge Representation: An AI Perspective. The text covers logic (including default reasoning and nonmonotonic logic), semantic networks, frames and schemas, rule-based systems, abduction, and -- somewhat theoretically -- PDP-style connectionism. Ablex Publishing, Norwood, NJ, 1991, 251 pp.

Software Productivity Group Inc. (Shrewsbury, MA) is publishing Kenneth M. May's AI in Insurance: Rewards from Technology, a report on 50 insurance companies that are using AI in their operations. $395; (800) 462-4242. This company also publishes the AI-related Software Re-engineering report ($495) and CASE Trends ($37/year -- 9 issues). [PC AI, 7-8/91.]

Creating Expert Systems for Business and Industry is a 1990 book by Paul Harmon and Brian Sawyer. (John Wiley & Sons, 329 pp., $24.95.) Don Barker gives it a very good review in the July/August issue of PC AI. He particularly likes the section on combining rules with objects. Section Six presents a managerial view, and an appendix lists [slightly dated] tools for expert system development.