Thursday, November 23, 2006


Some people frequently use this word "Brainstorm/Brainstorming", but i didn't know the meaning. Luckily I got a book two/three weeks before, it clearly talks about "Brainstorming". Brainstorming is a creativity technique of generating ideas to solve a problem. Last two weeks with the help of Google and some other books, I collected lots of information about brainstorming for my knowledge. I've posted those informations in a proper organized form. Most of the contents & diagrams from wikipedia & Jahn Chards "Decision Making Techniques" book.

Some Def:

  • Brainstorming is a process for generating new ideas
  • Brainstorming is "a conference technique by which a group attempts to find a solution for a specific problem by amassing all the ideas spontaneously by its members" - Alex Osborn
  • To brainstorm is to use a set of specific rules and techniques which encourage and spark off new ideas which would never have happened under normal circumstances

Brainstorming is a useful and popular tool that you can use to develop highly creative solutions to a problem.

It is particularly helpful when you need to break out of stale, established patterns of thinking, so that you can develop new ways of looking at things. This can be when you need to develop new opportunities, where you want to improve the service that you offer, or when existing approaches just aren't giving you the results you want.

Used with your team, it helps you bring the experience of all team members into play during problem solving.

This increases the richness of solutions explored (meaning that you can find better solutions to the problems you face, and make better decisions.) It can also help you get buy in from team members for the solution chosen - after all, they have helped create that solution.

Wikipedia says:

Brainstorming is a creativity technique of generating ideas to solve a problem. The main result of a brainstorm session may be a complete solution to the problem, a list of ideas for an approach to a subsequent solution, or a list of ideas resulting in a plan to find a solution.

Brainstorming and Lateral Thinking

Brainstorming is a lateral thinking process. It asks that people come up with ideas and thoughts that seem at first to be a bit shocking or crazy. You can then change and improve them into ideas that are useful, and often stunningly original.

During brainstorming sessions there should therefore be no criticism of ideas: You are trying to open up possibilities and break down wrong assumptions about the limits of the problem. Judgments and analysis at this stage will stunt idea generation.
Ideas should only be evaluated at the end of the brainstorming session - you can then explore solutions further using conventional approaches.If your ideas begin to dry up, you can 'seed' the session with, for example, a random word (see Random Input).

Individual Brainstorming

When you brainstorm on your own you will tend to produce a wider range of ideas than with group brainstorming - you do not have to worry about other people's egos or opinions, and can therefore be more freely creative. You may not, however, develop ideas as effectively as you do not have the experience of a group to help you.

When Brainstorming on your own, it can be helpful to use Mind Maps to arrange and develop ideas.

Group Brainstorming

Group brainstorming can be very effective as it uses the experience and creativity of all members of the group. When individual members reach their limit on an idea, another member's creativity and experience can take the idea to the next stage. Therefore, group brainstorming tends to develop ideas in more depth than individual brainstorming.

Brainstorming in a group can be risky for individuals. Valuable but strange suggestions may appear stupid at first sight. Because of such, you need to chair sessions tightly so that uncreative people do not crush these ideas and leave group members feeling humiliated.


Brainstorming has many applications but it is most often used in:

  • New product development - obtaining ideas for new products and improving existing products
  • Advertising - developing ideas for advertising campaigns
  • Problem solving - issues, root causes, alternative solutions, impact analysis, evaluation
  • Process management - finding ways of improving business and production processes
  • Project Management - identifying client objectives, risks, deliverables, work packages, resources, roles and responsibilities, tasks, issues
  • Team building - generates sharing and discussion of ideas while stimulating participants to think
  • Business planning – develop and improve the product idea.
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Marketing strategy and methods
  • Research and Development procedures
  • Research techniques
  • Patents
  • Physical products
  • Written documents and articles
  • Services
  • Processes
  • Engineering components
  • Government policies
  • Consumer research
  • Factories
  • Management methods
  • Company structure and policy
  • Investment decisions
  • New industries
  • Better insurance policies
  • New and better ... whatever you want!


In 1941 Alex Osborn, an advertising executive, found that conventional business meetings were inhibiting the creation of new ideas and proposed some rules designed to help stimulate them. He was looking for rules which would give people the freedom of mind and action to spark off and reveal new ideas. To "think up" was originally the term he used to describe the process he developed, and that in turn came to be known as "brainstorming". He described brainstorming as "a conference technique by which a group attempts to find a solution for a specific problem by amassing all the ideas spontaneously by its members". The rules he came up with are the following:

  • No criticism of ideas
  • Go for large quantities of ideas
  • Build on each others ideas
  • Encourage wild and exaggerated ideas

He found that when these rules were followed, a lot more ideas were created and that a greater quantity of original ideas gave rise to a greater quantity of useful ideas. Quantity produced quality.

Using these new rules, people's natural inhibitions were reduced, inhibitions which prevented them putting forward ideas which they felt might be considered "wrong" or "stupid". Osborn also found that generating "silly" ideas could spark off very useful ideas because they changed the way people thought.

As you will discover, the development of this original technique was revolutionary and has since changed our world. With increasing refinement of the process, and the introduction of creative thinking techniques, the world of easy idea generation is yours for the taking. You need never be stuck for a new idea, whether you are in a group or working by yourself.

You can read Alex Osborn's original approach in his book "Applied Imagination".

Better brainstorming means better ideas leading to:
  • More money
  • Faster promotion
  • Increased creativity
  • Better society
  • More pleasant working environment
  • Better employee relations
  • A more responsive company
  • Taking advantages of gaps in the market
  • Creating new markets
  • New products and services
  • Better products and services
  • Better management
  • Less conflicts and arguments
  • Improvements in productivity and reliability

Brainstorming Step by Step

  1. Define your problem or issue as a creative challenge. Creative challenges typically start with: "In what ways might we...?" or "How could we...?" Your creative challenge should be concise, to the point and exclude any information other than the challenge itself. For example: "In what ways might we improve product X?" or "How could we encourage more local people to join our club?"
  2. Give yourselves a time limit. We recommend around 25 minutes, but experience will show how much time is required. Larger groups may need more time to get everyone's ideas out. Alternatively, give yourself an idea limit. At minimum, push for 50 ideas. But 100 ideas is even better.
  3. Once the brainstorming starts, participants shout out solutions to the problem while the facilitator writes them down – usually on a white board or flip-chart for all to see. There must be absolutely no criticizing of ideas. No matter how daft, how impossible or how silly an idea is, it must be written down. Laughing is to be encouraged. Criticism is not.
  4. Once your time is up, select the five ideas which you like best. Make sure everyone involved in the brainstorming session is in agreement.
  5. Write down about five criteria for judging which ideas best solve your problem. Criteria should start with the word "should", for example, "it should be cost effective", "it should be legal", "it should be possible to finish before July 15", etc.
  6. Give each idea a score of 0 to 5 points depending on how well it meets each criterion. Once all of the ideas have been scored for each criterion, add up the scores.
  7. The idea with the highest score will best solve your problem. But you should keep a record of all of your best ideas and their scores in case your best idea turns out not to be workable.

Brainstorming is the name given to a situation when a group of people meet to generate new ideas around a specific area of interest. Using rules which remove inhibitions, people are able to think more freely and move into new areas of thought and so create numerous new ideas and solutions. The participants shout out ideas as they occur to them and then build on the ideas raised by others. All the ideas are noted down and are not criticized. Only when the brainstorming session is over are the ideas evaluated.

This is the traditional way brainstorming is done. The aim of this website is to train you in the methods of traditional brainstorming and then to move on and discover a series of advanced techniques available to you.

Some Rules and Principles

Rule 1: Postpone and withhold your judgment of ideas

Do not pass judgment on ideas until the completion of the brainstorming session. Do not suggest that an idea won't work or that it has negative side-effects. All ideas are potentially good so don't judge them until afterwards. At this stage, avoid discussing the ideas at all, as this will inevitably involve either criticizing or complimenting them.Ideas should be put forward both as solutions and also as a basis to spark off solutions. Even seemingly foolish ideas can spark off better ones. Therefore do not judge the ideas until after the brainstorming process. Note down all ideas. There is no such thing as a bad idea.The evaluation of ideas takes up valuable brain power which should be devoted to the creation of ideas. Maximize your brainstorming session by only spending time generating new ideas. Rule 2: Encourage wild and exaggerated ideasIt's much easier to tame a wild idea than it is to think of an immediately valid one in the first place. The 'wilder' the idea the better. Shout out bizarre and unworkable ideas to see what they spark off. No idea is too ridiculous. State any outlandish ideas. Exaggerate ideas to the extreme.Use creative thinking techniques and tools to start your thinking from a fresh direction.

Rule 3: Quantity counts at this stage, not quality

Go for quantity of ideas at this point; narrow down the list later. All activities should be geared towards extracting as many ideas as possible in a given period.The more creative ideas a person or a group has to choose from, the better. If the number of ideas at the end of the session is very large, there is a greater chance of finding a really good idea.Keep each idea short, do not describe it in detail - just capture its essence. Brief clarifications can be requested. Think fast, reflect later.

Rule 4: Build on the ideas put forward by others

Build and expand on the ideas of others. Try and add extra thoughts to each idea. Use other people's ideas as inspiration for your own. Creative people are also good listeners. Combine several of the suggested ideas to explore new possibilities.It's just as valuable to be able to adapt and improve other people's ideas as it is to generate the initial idea that sets off new trains of thought.

Rule 5: Every person and every idea has equal worth

Every person has a valid viewpoint and a unique perspective on the situation and solution. We want to know yours. In a brainstorming session you can always put forward ideas purely to spark off other people and not just as a final solution. Please participate, even if you need to write your ideas on a piece of paper and hand it out. Encourage participation from everyone.Each idea presented belongs to the group, not to the person who said it. It is the group's responsibility and an indication of its ability to brainstorm if all participants feel able to contribute freely and confidently.

Principles relating to Rule 1: Withholding judgment
  • Ideas which initially seem like they won't work can sometimes have enormous benefits when modified.
  • You will reduce the inhibitions in others.
  • You will encourage others to give you the freedom to share your own ideas.
  • Original ideas are more likely to surface.
  • Ideas which stimulate good solutions are more likely to be shared.
  • The generation of new ideas is maximized because no brain power is used on evaluation.
Principles relating to Rule 2: Encourage wild and exaggerated ideas
  • It's easier to tame wild ideas into a valid solution than it is to boost normal ideas into an original solution.
  • Ideas which stimulate good solutions are more likely to be shared.
  • Wild ideas are better at stimulating new thought patterns.
  • Original ideas are encouraged by such actions.
  • A loss of inhibitions is more likely.
Principles relating to Rule 3: Quantity counts at this stage, not quality
  • It's easier to pick out good ideas from a large list than a small list. Idea evaluation is often easier than idea generation, so give yourself lots of ideas to analyze later.
  • It's easier to create a good idea from combining lots of little ideas.
  • A fast output of ideas reduces the likelihood of evaluation and so helps a loss of inhibitions.
  • People get more absorbed by the process and think more freely.
  • Quantity, in this case, brings quality.
  • The focus on each idea is minimal at this stage and so participants feel less pressure on each idea.
Principles relating to Rule 4: Build on the ideas put forward by others
  • Every idea put forward has a principle or concept that will be useful.
  • Wild ideas can be turned into valid solutions.
  • You encourage others to put forward stimulating ideas by using those ideas.
  • You build freedom for yourself when you put forward stimulating ideas.
  • It's often easier to adapt someone else's idea than to generate a completely original one.
Principles relating to Rule 5: Every person and every idea has equal worth
  • You will get solutions from a wider range of people.
  • The breadth of ideas will cover different personality types.
  • You will encourage others to listen to your own ideas.
  • Every idea has equal worth as a stimulus.
  • You will know that you have created a healthy brainstorming environment if everyone feels confident to contribute.

Possible problems with Traditional Brainstorming

  • You don't have the time or resources for a group session
  • People don't lose their inhibitions
  • The same ideas are repeated again and again
  • The session doesn't flow naturally and people feel uncomfortable
  • People constantly struggle to think in new ways
  • You need a group of people to do it and cannot do it by yourself
  • There are too many awkward periods of silence and discomfort
  • The sessions are dominated by one or two people
  • Some people do not contribute
  • The facilitator needs to give constant encouragement to the participants
  • The same ideas are repeated again and again
  • No successful outcome or solution is reached

Possible causes of the problems

  • Many people are uncomfortable in the brainstorming environment
  • People do not believe they can be creative
  • Authority is accidentally used which makes people feel scared of their actions
  • No real objectives are set
  • Participants do not know how to think creatively
  • Participants do not use creative thinking techniques
  • A poor mixture of participants is present
  • Different personality types need different brainstorming styles
  • None or not enough training has been given
  • Not enough guidance and encouragement is given by the facilitator
  • No warm-up exercise was used
  • The brainstorming environment is hostile to creativity
  • People are not using other people's ideas to stimulate their own

Brainstorming by yourself
without the need for a group

You can hold a brainstorming session absolutely any time - and as many times as you want - with no money, time or difficulty spent organizing a group of people. In fact, many individuals find that they can be more creative on their own rather than as part of a traditional brainstorming group! And yet the freedom of being able to brainstorm by yourself is amazingly simple to achieve.



Brainstorming can be done either individually or in a group. In group brainstorming, the participants are encouraged, and often expected, to share their ideas with one another as soon as they are generated. Complex problems or brainstorm sessions with a diversity of people may be prepared by a chairman. The chairman is the leader and facilitator of the brainstorm session.

The key to brainstorming is to not interrupt the thought process. As ideas come to mind, they are captured and stimulate the development of better ideas. Thus a group brainstorm session is best conducted in a moderate-sized room, and participants sit so that they can all look at each-other. A flip chart, blackboard, or overhead projector is placed in a prominent location. The room is free of telephones, clocks, or any other distractions.

In order to enhance creativity a brainstorm session has four basic rules:

Focus on quantity
This rule is a means of enhancing divergent production, aiming to facilitate problem solving through the maxim quantity breeds quality. The greater the number of ideas generated, the greater the chance of producing a radical and effective solution. An individual may revisit a brainstorm, done alone, and approach it with a slightly new perspective. This process can be repeated without limit. The result is collaboration with your past, present and future selves.
No criticism
It is often emphasized that in group brainstorming, criticism should be put 'on hold'. Instead of immediately stating what might be wrong with an idea, the participants focus on extending or adding to it, reserving criticism for a later 'critical stage' of the process. By suspending judgment, you create a supportive atmosphere where participants feel free to generate unusual ideas. However, persistent, respectful criticism of ideas by a minority dissenter can reduce groupthink, leading to more and better ideas.
Unusual ideas are welcome
To get a good and long list of ideas, unusual ideas are welcomed. They may open new ways of thinking and provide better solutions than regular ideas. They can be generated by looking from another perspective or setting aside assumptions. If an idea is too "wild" to be feasible, it can be tamed down to a more appropriate idea more easily than think up an idea.
Combine and improve ideas
Good ideas can be combined to form a very good idea, as suggested by the slogan "1+1=3". Also, existing ideas should be improved. This approach leads to better and more complete ideas than just generation of new ideas, and increases the generation of ideas, by a process of association.

The main reasons why brainstorming does not yield the expected results are faulty operation and exaggerated expectations. When the basic rules and best practices are not followed, or when the group expects miracles, the session will not give the optimal result.

A short brainstorm session

Brainstorming is very well suited for ad-hoc problem solving. A short brainstorm session can be applied in many occasions where a quick solution is needed. For example: students working on a project, a support team looking for a quick solution for their customer or a project team who have to deal with the illness of one of its members.

The session contains, as depicted in Figure 1, three phases:

Figure 1: Activities of a short brainstorm session

Set the problem

Determine and specify the problem which needs a solution. Every participant must know the problem.

Generate ideas

Generate as many ideas as possible. Keep in mind the four basic brainstorm rules and record the good ideas. Continue for five to fifteen minutes.

Select best idea

Select the most appropriated idea from the suggested ideas.

A complex brainstorm session


The preparation described here contains the basic activities, but depending on the situation more activities can be added. Figure 2 depicts the preparation activities in an activity diagram.

Figure 2: Activity diagram of preparing of a brainstorm session

Set the problem

One of the most important things to do before a session is to define the problem. The problem must be clear, small enough, and captured in a perfectly definite question such as “What service for mobile phones is not available now, but needed?“. If the problem is too big, the chairman should split it up into smaller components, each with its own question. Some problems seem to be multi-dimensional and non-quantified, for example “What are the aspects involved in being a successful entrepreneur”. Finding solutions for this those can better be done with morphological analysis.

Create a background memo

The background memo is the invitation and information letter for the participants, containing the session name, time, date and place and the problem. The problem is described with its question, and some example ideas are given. The ideas are solutions to the problem, and used when the session slows down or goes off-track. The example ideas also give the participants an idea of the direction upfront. The memo is sent to the participants at least two days in advance, so that they can think about the problem beforehand.

Select participants

The chairman composes the brainstorm panel, consisting of the participants and an idea collector. Many variations are possible but the following composition is advised:

  • Five core members of the project who have proved themselves.
  • Five guests from outside the project, with affinity to the problem.
  • One idea collector who records the suggested ideas.

Create a list of lead questions

During the brainstorm session the creativity may decrease. At this moment, the chairman should boost creativity by suggesting a lead question to an answer, such as "Can we combine those ideas?" or "How about a look from another perspective?". It is advised to prepare a list of such leads before the session.

Session conduct

The chairman; leads the brainstorm session and ensures that the basic brainstorm rules are followed. The activities of a typical session are:

  1. A warm-up session, to expose novice participants to the criticism-free environment. A simple problem is brainstormed, for example "What should be the next corporate Christmas present?" or "What can be improved in Microsoft Windows?".
  2. The chairman presents the problem and gives a further explanation if needed.
  3. The chairman asks the brainstorm panel for their ideas.
  4. If no ideas are coming out, the chairman suggests a lead to encourage creativity.
  5. Every participant presents his or her idea, and the idea collector writes down the idea.
  6. If more than one participant has ideas, the chairman lets the most associated idea be presented first. This selection can be done by looking at the body language of the participants, or just by asking for the most associated idea.
  7. The participants try to elaborate on the idea, to improve the quality.
  8. When time is up, the chairman organizes the ideas based on the topic goal and encourages discussion. Additional ideas may be generated.
  9. Ideas are categorized.
  10. The whole list is reviewed to ensure that everyone understands the ideas. Duplicate ideas and obviously infeasible solutions are removed.
  11. The chairman thanks all participants and gives each a token of appreciation.

Best practices

  • Participants who have an idea but no possibility to present it should write down their idea and present it later.
  • The idea collector should number the ideas, so that the chairman can use the number to encourage quantitative idea generation, for example: "We have 44 ideas now, let’s get it to 50!".
  • The idea collector should repeat the idea in the words she has written it, to confirm that it expresses the meaning intended by the originator.
  • When more participants are having ideas, the one with the most associated idea should have priority. This to encourage elaboration on previous ideas.
  • During the brainstorm session the attendance of managers and superiors is strongly discouraged, as it may radically reduces the effect of the four basic rules, especially the generation of unusual ideas.

The process of conducting a brainstorm session is depicted in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Activity diagram of conducting a brainstorm session


Brainstorming can be used as a supplement for:

  • Individual ideation for quickly generating many potentially useful ideas
  • A business conference to stimulate creative thinking in a judicial and relatively unproductive atmosphere.
  • Creative training: brainstorming improves the creative attitude towards solving problems and improves the creative ability in groups and individuals.

Although the main purpose of brainstorming is to generate ideas, it has additional benefits:

  • Improves initiative that can last after the session, as participants are encouraged to constantly throw in their ideas, to take initiative all the time.
  • Improves creative thinking: participants learn to approach problems creatively and use association to create ideas, which they can use after the session.
  • Improves morale: Participants work together to find a solution to a problem and every participant is encouraged to take initiative. This can improve the morale of the team and its members.
  • Enjoyment: participants usually like the interactive and creative atmosphere.


Nominal group technique

Nominal group technique is a type of brainstorming that introduces structure to the process. It is useful in ensuring that all participants have an equal say and can be used to generate a ranked list of ideas.

Typically each participant is asked to write down their ideas. Then the moderator asks each participant in turn to express one of their ideas. The moderator writes down each idea on the flip chart. Then each participant copies the group's final list on a blank page giving each idea a score. The pages are collected from each participant and the scores summed, providing a rank-ordered list.

Group passing technique

Each person in a circular group writes down one idea, and then passes their piece of paper to the next person in a clockwise direction, who adds some thoughts. This is repeated until everybody gets their original piece of paper back. By this time, it is likely that the group will have created some powerful ideas.

A popular alternative to this technique is to create an "Idea Book" and post a distribution list or routing slip to the front of the book. On the inside cover (or first page) is the problem definition statement. The first person to receive the book lists his/her ideas and then routes the book to the next person on the distribution list. The second person can log new ideas or add to the ideas of the previous person. This continues until the distribution list is exhausted. A follow-up "read out" meeting is then held to discuss the ideas logged in the book. This technique does take longer, but allows individual thought whenever the person has a spare minute to think deeply about the problem.

Team Idea Mapping Method

This method of brainstorming leverages the natural associative process of the brain. It improves collaboration, increases the quantity of ideas, and is designed so that all attendees participate and no ideas are rejected.

The process starts with a well-defined topic. Each participant creates an individual brainstorm around the topic. All ideas are then merged into one large idea map. During this consolidation phase the participants discover a common understanding of the issues as they share the meanings behind their ideas. As the sharing takes place, the brain will naturally think of additional ideas based on the conversations. Those ideas are added to the large map as well. Now ideas are generated on both the individual and group levels. Once all ideas are captured, the group can prioritize and/or take action.

Selecting a Solution

  • When you are sure the brainstorming session is over, it is time to select a solution.
  • By using a show of hands (or another voting method), allow each person to vote for as many ideas
    on the original list as they want. Note that they only have one vote per generated ideal.
  • Write the vote tallies next to the ideal. You can use a different color than the ideal to help it stand out.
  • Once the voting is completed, delete all items with no votes.
  • Next, look for logical breaks. For example, if you have several items with 5 or 6 votes, and no 3 or 4 and only a couple of 1 and 2, then retain only the 5 and 6 votes. The group can help to decide the breaking point.
  • Now, it is time to vote again. Each person gets half number of votes as there are ideals left. For example is you narrowed the number of generated ideals down to 20, then each person gets 10 votes (if it is a odd number, round down). Each person will keep track of his or her votes. The scribe should again tally the votes next to the ideal, only this time use a different color.
  • Continue this process of elimination until you get down to about 5 ideals.
  • Put the remainder ideas into a matrix. Put each ideal into its own row (first column). Next label some columns using selected criteria. For example:

Generated Idea Low Cost Easy to Implement and is Feasible Will Help Other Processes TOTAL
Outsource it to a vendor. ............
Hire a new employee. ............
Share the extra workload. ... .........

  • Next, working one column at a time, ask the group to order each idea. Using the above example, which one will cost the least, the most, and will be in the middle.
  • Repeat by working the next column until you have completed all columns. Total each column until it looks similar to this:

Generated Idea

Low Cost

Easy to Implement and is Feasible

Will Help Other Processes


Outsource it to a vendor.





Hire a new employee.





Share the extra workload.





  • It this case, the lowest number column, "Hire a new employee," would be the best solution.
  • Note that you should work each column first (not each row).
  • Some of the columns will require much discussion, as choosing an arbitrary number will not be that easy in some cases.
  • Often, you will have a couple of ideas that tie, but having it diagramed out in a matrix makes it much easier to make a decision.

Delphi Decision Making
In Delphi decision groups, a series of questionnaires are sent to selected respondents (Delphi group). The group does not meet face-to-face. All communication is normally in writing (normally letters or email). Members of the groups are selected because the are experts or they have relevant information. Steps include:

  • Members are asked to share their assessment and explanation of a problem or predict a future state of affairs
  • Replies are gathered, summarized, and then fed back to all the group members.
  • Members then make another decision based upon the new information.
  • The process may be repeated until the the responses converge satisfactory.

The success of this process depends upon the member's expertise and communication skill. Also, each response requires adequate time for reflection and analysis. The major merits of the Delphi process is:

  • Elimination of interpersonal problems.
  • Efficient use of expert's time.
  • Diversity of ideals.
  • Accuracy of solutions and predictions.

Dialectic Decision Making

The dielectric decision method (DDM) traces its roots back to Socrates and Plato. It helps to overcome such problems as converging too quickly one one solution while overlooking others, participants dislike of meetings, incomplete evaluations, and the failure to confront tough issues. The steps of DDM are:
  • Issue a clear statement of the problem to be solved.
  • Two or more competing proposals are generated.
  • Members identify the explicit or implicit assumptions that underlie each proposal.
  • The team then breaks into advocacy sub, who examine and argue the relative merits of their positions.
  • The group reassembles and makes a decision:
    • embrace one of the alternatives
    • forge a compromise
    • generate a new proposal

The process looks like this:

This process helps the members to better understand the proposals along with their pros and cons. The main disadvantage is the tendency to forge a compromise in order to avoid choosing sides.

"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." - Thomas Alva Edison

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My favorite song for this month - I Can

This is a really nice video song by Nas. One of my friends gave me this video to watch 2 days before, but it was released couple of years before. It's really fantastic & meaningful video song . I've updated this video song on my favorite video page. And lyrics is blow 4 u. I got all of your mails. Thank you very much!! I'll reply all u guys soon. The new's) search is ready to use. The search box & the button is next to the sign up button. As many of u mailed me, The text color and background colors are alike for some monitors. I'll try 2 do some color corrections on my web. Thank you. Keep In Touch through Electronic Mail.


I know I can (I know I can)
Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
If I work hard at it (If I work hard it)
I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be)

Be, B-Boys and girls, listen up
You can be anything in the world, in God we trust
An architect, doctor, maybe an actress
But nothing comes easy it takes much practice
Like, I met a woman who's becoming a star
She was very beautiful, leaving people in awe
Singing songs, Lina Horn, but the younger version
Hung with the wrong person
Gotta astrung when I heard when
Cocaine, sniffing up drugs, all in her nose
Coulda died, so young, no looks ugly and old
No fun cause when she reaches for hugs people hold they breath
Cause she smells of corrosion and death
Watch the company you keep and the crowd you bring
Cause they came to do drugs and you came to sing
So if you gonna be the best, I'ma tell you how

I know I can (I know I can)
Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
If I work hard at it (If I work hard it)
I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be)

Be, B-Boys and girls, listen again
This is for grown looking girls who's only ten
The ones who watch videos and do what they see
As cute as can be, up in the club with fake ID
Careful, 'fore you meet a man with HIV
You can host the TV like Oprah Winfrey
Whatever you decide, be careful, some men be
Rapists, so act your age, don't pretend to be
Older than you are, give yourself time to grow
You thinking he can give you wealth, but so
Young boys, you can use a lot of help, you know
You thinkin life's all about smokin weed and ice
You don't wanna be my age and can't read and right
Begging different women for a place to sleep at night
Smart boys turn to men and do whatever they wish
If you believe you can achieve, then say it like this

Be, be, 'fore we came to this country
We were kings and queens, never porch monkeys
It was empires in Africa called Kush
Timbuktu, where every race came to get books
To learn from black teachers who taught Greeks and Romans
Asian Arabs and gave them gold when
Gold was converted to money it all changed
Money then became empowerment for Europeans
The Persian military invaded
They learned about the gold, the teachings and everything sacred
Africa was almost robbed naked
Slavery was money, so they began making slave ships
Egypt was the place that Alexander the Great went
He was so shocked at the mountains with black faces
Shot up they nose to impose what basically
Still goes on today, you see?
If the truth is told, the youth can grow
They learn to survive until they gain control
Nobody says you have to be gangstas, hoes
Read more learn more, change the globe
Ghetto children, do your thing
Hold your head up, little man, you're a king
Young Prince thats when you get your wedding ring
Your man is saying "She's my queen"

Save the music y'all, save the music y'all
Save the music y'all, save the music y'all
Save the music...

Monday, October 9, 2006

New experience

Hi guys!
I experienced Trojan/Spy first time in my life. When I was chatting with my friends, I got an instance message saying “We have a party tonight. Please join with us. Click this for more information: http:/ /” from one of my friends ID. I accidentally clicked on it. My computer infected with a Trojan svhost32.exe.

1. The homepage in the IE is changed to "".
2. Every time I log into yahoo messenger it is automatically sending out messages to all the names in the friends list with the link ......."check this link".
3. My MSN nickname changed to “Jeyaram –”.
4. Registry editor is disabled.
5. Task manager is disabled.
6. The options in the IE - Tools- Internet options - general tab- use blank, use current, use default options disabled.
7. Whenever I open MSN/Yahoo messenger, some box type windows open and close.
8. My computer all the way got stacked.
9. When I click on anywhere, a small menu displayed.
10. Screen shot button didn’t work.
11. I have run the ewido avg anti spy ware and could not find anything. I have ZA and AVG antivirus installed. Also, when I am not connected to the net, I get a pop up message “Program trying to access, which connection to use.”

If you got the same problem, start the computer in safe mode and system restore turned off. And run your anti-spy program. Now I recommend “Ad-Aware SE Personal”. Or use yahoo anti-spy. Yahoo anti-spy is very simple and efficient program. Yahoo anti-spy won’t work for this Trojan, if you don’t update.
Download Yahoo! Anti-spy!!
Is the Trojan/Spy gone and the computer is safe now??
Is it safe to use the yahoo messenger now (without sending the unwanted links to the friends list)?????

If you get any messages like this; be carefully.

  • oh my god , I've won a 20000 used lottery . Come to my house tonight for a party !! ><
  • have you ever seen such a silly man like this ? )
  • Now you can avoid some critical online viruses by updating Windows . Click here to know how to Update your Windows : <<
  • Breaking news : Mr G.Bush's son is kidnapped by terrorists !!! !!
I don’t know!! Please post your comments. If you know any thing more about this spy post that also as comment.

Well opening drops svchost.exe and svchost32.exe (made in VB and UPXed) in ur windows directory.
If you open the page in mozilla / opera, its full of adbrite ads.
It can be considered a good case of social engineering by bgohil7@yahoo. com
as he wrote as a link in his post. Reading this post many woulr open up and get infected if they use IE.
nice one dude.
Some details that i figured out :
it uses msinet.ocx and web browser control for communicating with websites or downloading more file.
the programmer of this malware has these folders -
E:\Lucky\My Document\Visual basic 6.0\Downloader\
the VB project was saved as termex.vbp
it also drops taskkill.exe in windows\system32 folder
taskkill is used by program to end programs like Antiviruses etc.
It kills all anti trojan and anti virus tools.
makes a script c:\killav.bat to kill antiviruses
It accesses where the malware writer will put commands or url from which trojan would update itself.
Its spreading well -
besides it disables taskmgr and regedit too
it accesses and probably autoclicks ads
the Module1.bas has subroutines like KillAV() and Killenemy()
it downloads which is renamed as svchost32.exe
also downloads
the malware author also has registered the domain
I think the malware should be named "Termex" as far as the programmer wished.
I will post more if i find about this. We can easily nab this criminal as he left the names of websites/domains he bought.
more coming soon
happy hacking
Spyware, Adware, Trojans, Malware, Dialers, Popups Scanners:
Online Scanners:
Spyware, Adware, Trojans, Malware, Dialers, Popups Scanner Lists:
Antivirus Lists:
Firewall Lists:
IP Blocker:
Email, News, RSS:
System Cleaner:
System Cleaning List:
System Info:
Thanks: Yahoo! answers

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Hi guys! This is quit interesting post - about Jessica Lee Rose.  lonelygirl15 is a fictional video log that came to international attention via YouTube, a popular video sharing website. The central character is a YouTube user of the same name, although she is commonly known as Bree. This article refers to both the character and the series interchangeably.

The character achieved massive popularity with her series of videos, which acquired over 15 million cumulative views. But after viewers grew suspicious (see Initial speculation), researchers exposed lonelygirl15 as a fictitious character played by New Zealand actress Jessica Rose. An interview with the New York Times then revealed the series creators, Ramesh Flinders, a screenwriter and film-maker from Marin County, California, and Miles Beckett, a surgical residency dropout-turned-film-maker.
The series is still running, with new videos appearing at least once a week. The first video was posted June 16, 2006. On September 25, 2006, Bree posted a video stating it would be her last, whether this is true or not is still unknown.

Jessica Lee Rose (born April 26, 1987) is an American-born amateur actress from New Zealand who rose to popularity after playing the role of lonelygirl15, a fictional character on the popular website YouTube. Controversy arose when she was "outed" by two hackers (C. Yoon) who discovered her real identity, and that she was merely playing a role. Many viewers of her videos on YouTube believed that her episodes, played out in vlogs, represented actual events being retold by a living person.

Born in Salisbury, Maryland, Rose attended Mount Maunganui College in New Zealand's Bay of Plenty and is a graduate of the New York Film Academy's one-year acting for film program at Universal Studios She has previously done make-up and costume work on a New Zealand short film titled Us, and she played a leading role in a short film titled 'Dearly Beloved.'

Most of her videos on , just check. 


Friday, September 8, 2006

How to prepare for exams?

I couldn't post blog entries last couple of weeks, since I was busy with my exam & assignment works. One of my friends gave me a book - "Help for Common Problems" by University of Cambridge Counselling Services. There are four or five nice articles to solve common problems. Such as exam, concentration, procrastination and some other. According to my web login statistics, most of the blog viewers in my site are between the age of 16 and 27. So I hope this exam preparation tips/techniques/ideas will be very useful to you all. 

Preparing for exams

Start a revision programme in good time before the exams. Whilst you do not want to 'peak' too early, leaving revision too late is an excellent recipe for stress. Doing the work takes less effort than thinking about doing the work!

 A certain amount of pressure is good for us and helps us perform well. But this is different from the popular game of "look how stressed I am" which is supposed to impress others with how hard one is working. Similarly, maintaining some balance in life and some perspective on the exams is different from that other popular game of "look how cool (and on top of my work) I am"!

Organising your space

Most people preparing for exams know they should organise their time - and we come to this in the next section - but fewer people know that it helps to organise their space too.

Think about where you work. See if you can separate out the places where you work from the places where you relax. Even if this all happens within one small room, create a 'working place' (around a desk/table?) which contains your papers, books, etc. and everything you need for your work.

Move all distractions out of your work area - pictures, music, TV - and put these into your 'relaxation areas'. Similarly, keep work out of the latter, so that when you are relaxing or sleeping your working is not intruding into this space.

Get used to working when you are in your work area, and 'switching off' when you get up from this place. Creating a physical separation of this kind will help you to do the same mentally.

Organising your time

People are different in how they react to revision plans. When these go wrong - as they often do - it is usually because they were planned too tightly and did not allow for sufficient flexibility: plans need plenty of blank space to allow for the unexpected.

Bearing in mind that plans need to be flexible, draw up a weekly timetable for yourself, firstly putting in everything you need to do: meals, sleep, lectures, supervisions, shopping, laundry etc. Then allocate time for revision and time for relaxing and enjoying yourself.

Be realistic about how much time you can aim to spend revising. As a guide, if you divide the week into 21 units (one per morning, afternoon and evening) you should aim to work in total for no more than 15 units per week, as it has been shown that ability to work effectively over a prolonged period decreases over this level. Therefore, you should have 6 units (e.g. 2 full days or 1 full day and 3 evenings) to do other things. How to prepare for exams -

Allowing yourself time every week for relaxation, recreation, socialising and rest will help you feel less stressed and make it more likely that you will stick to your timetable. This is not wasting time; it helps you work more effectively.

Plan how you will use your time during your revision periods. You might want to list all the topics you want to revise, decide what order to learn them in, and how much time to spend on each. If you have other tasks to complete (e.g. reading, note-taking) you need to decide how much time to spend on these.

Be realistic about what you can achieve and stick to your deadlines. If there is too much work to do in the time available, use the following questions to help you prioritise:

  • which are the most important topics?
  • which subjects do you know best already, or are easiest to get 'up to scratch'?
  • which topics are compulsory?
  • for which subjects do you already have the most information/research/material?

Set specific goals for each revision period. Make a list of your goals; keep them realistic; and tick them off as you achieve them so you can see what you have done. Allow more time for subjects you find difficult. Check out what you do not understand.

Some people find it helpful to work in groups - perhaps arranging to meet a few friends to discuss particular topics. You can use this to test each other's memory or talk through aspects you have not understood.


Some people struggle with a lack of motivation. These simple strategies may help:

  • plan rewards for yourself when you have achieved goals
  • start with easier/more interesting subjects
  • and establish a work routine - once started, a routine becomes easier to maintain
  • remind yourself why you have chosen to do these exams - if you do not want the qualification you do not have to do them!

Improving concentration

There is a separate leaflet in this series which deals specifically with improving concentration, but here are a few pointers.

People vary in how long they can concentrate, so experiment and find a work pattern that suits you. Take regular, short breaks when you are working - for example, 10 minutes out of every hour you work - is likely to help you concentrate for longer.

If you are finding it very difficult to concentrate, start off by setting yourself a small, manageable goal. When you have achieved this, give yourself some reward. Keep repeating this goal setting and rewarding yourself. As you achieve your goals, gradually increase what you set out to do. In this way you can train yourself to concentrate more effectively. Here are some other ideas:

  • Make notes as you read. Keep questions in your mind as you work. Speak out loud. Record yourself.
  • Mix topics frequently. Mix easy and difficult topics, and interesting and dull topics.
  • Try to work in a comfortable environment (not too cold, hot, noisy) and remove distractions if possible. Find out where you work best, e.g. in the library with a friend, or alone in your room - see the earlier section on 'organising your space'.

Active learning

Try to revise in an active way: do not just read notes through, but perhaps make a list of key points (writing reams of new notes is very time-consuming and is not an effective method of revising!). Test your memory as you go along and try to devise questions/answers concerning the information you are learning.

Some people find it helpful to use memory aids such as memorising a trigger word which is associated with a 'chunk' of information, making a trigger word out of the initial letters of key points or names, or finding a way of visualising information.


Spend some time going through past exam papers and practise answering questions within the allotted time. It doesn't matter if your attempts go wrong to start with - in fact, now is the time to make these mistakes! Such practice will give you a good idea of the format of the exam, the sorts of questions you could get, and will give you invaluable practice in planning and structuring answers under time pressure. In makes no sense to get your first 'practice' at this during the real examination!

Remember that you are not expected to produce an essay under examination conditions which looks like it took a week to carefully polish. So, be realistic: people tend not to be able to write 'perfect' essays during exams. Keep focusing your attention on the task in hand (i.e. answering the question) rather than being distracted by 'what if's.

Sleeping better

There is a separate leaflet in this series on insomnia, but here are a few pointers that may help during periods of revision and exams:

  • Don't work in or on your bed - keep bed for relaxation and sleep.
  • 'Switch off' before going to bed: stop working at least an hour before you intend to sleep and spend the time doing something more relaxing e.g. listening to music, talking to a friend, having a bath, doing relaxation exercises, taking a stroll.
  • If you stick to a regular bed time and getting up time it will be easier to maintain good sleeping patterns.
  • Too much alcohol will prevent you from sleeping properly and will tend to make you tired the next day.
  • Do not 'catastrophise' about not being able to sleep well i.e. stop telling yourself that you will not be able to do anything the next day if you cannot get to sleep. Even when you are not sleeping much, you will still be able to function well, think logically and do difficult mental tasks. It is mundane, vigilance-type tasks and mood (e.g. irritability) which are mainly affected by lack of sleep. Most people manage to sustain sleep deficit over a few days (but not weeks!) before needing to 'catch up'.

On the day of the exam

Looking after yourself - for example, getting enough rest and eating reasonably - is more important and effective than trying to do some last minute cramming. This is a day to have planned beforehand and to take things gently in order to conserve your energy for the examination(s).

Don't get up very early, as this will just make you more tired. Eat breakfast, but do not drink too much liquid! If you have spare time, do something you find relaxing - have a bath, go for a stroll - and keep away from those whose stress levels are contagious.

Rather than trying to learn any new material, perhaps just look over a few key points.

Arrive at the exam hall comfortably in time but not too early; the tension hanging over this short period of waiting just before the exam is highly contagious so you do well to minimise your exposure to it!

It is natural to feel some anxiety when you go into the examination room. Use the few minutes before you are allowed to begin to do some simple relaxation and breathing exercises; sit back and separate yourself mentally from those who are getting stressed.

Read the exam paper through slowly. When you have chosen your questions read them through twice to make sure you have understood and not misread the question. If you are allowed to do so, underline key words or phrases in the questions.

Answer the correct number of questions and divide your time equally between them - or according to the marking scheme if questions have different weighting. With essay questions, you will get more marks overall by doing three (say) average answers, than by doing two brilliant ones but leaving the third question undone!

Some people write out essay plans to all the questions they need to answer at the beginning, so they can add things as they occur to them while working on other answers; others take each question in order. Which method works best for you, or is most appropriate to the format of your exams? After doing your plan, look back at the question and check you are answering the question asked - you do not get credit for a brilliant answer to a question you were not asked!

Take regular 'micro-breaks': whenever you pause at the end of writing a paragraph or stop to think for a moment, put your pen down and sit back, even if just for a moment.

If you start to panic during an exam

In an examination situation it is not uncommon for one's mind to go blank for a moment, or to be confused by a question put in an unfamiliar way. At these times it is easy to begin to panic. This is likely to take the form of doom-laden thoughts as well as physical symptoms such as feeling your heart racing, feeling faint, hot or sweaty. Although these symptoms are disturbing, perhaps even frightening, they are in fact very common and are not at all dangerous.

First, pause for a few moments: put your pen down and sit back; slow your breathing down a little. Let your body relax. Relaxation and breathing exercises will help to reduce these symptoms. Reassure yourself that you are not going to collapse or lose control - these things never happen because of anxiety. Push upsetting thoughts to the back of your mind and re-focus your attention on relaxing, and then back on the exam itself. No matter how bad the anxiety feels, do not leave the exam as the anxiety level will fall within a short space of time. Panic is always time limited and the symptoms will reduce in a short while.

When you are able, get back to work - remember that it is better to put something down rather than nothing.

After the examination

Before the day of the exam, it can be a good idea to decide what you are going to do immediately after the exam ends. Standing around and joining in with others' delight or dismay is almost always discouraging. If you have something already planned you can simply leave others to do the post-mortem, while you go and do something more enjoyable.

If you are exhausted, some food or a sleep may help; if you are still wound up, you could do something physical, such as go for a run or a swim. If you are going to meet up with someone, you could agree with them that you will only talk about the exam for 5 minutes - or even not at all.

Thanks: University of Cambridge Counselling Service, 2003.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

AI Tech

Instead of trying to produce a programme to simulate the adult mind, why not rather try to produce one which simulates the child's? If this were then subjected to an appropriate course of education one would obtain the adult brain.
-- Alan Turing, 1950

Artificial intelligence (abbreviated AI, also some times called Synthetic Intelligence) is defined as intelligence exhibited by an artificial entity. Such a system is generally assumed to be a computer.

AI forms a vital branch of computer science, dealing with intelligent behavior, learning and adaptation in machines. Research in AI is concerned with producing machines to automate tasks requiring intelligent behavior. Examples include control, planning and scheduling, the ability to answer diagnostic and consumer questions, handwriting, speech, and facial recognition. As such, it has become an engineering discipline, focused on providing solutions to real life problems. AI systems are now in routine use in economics, medicine, engineering and the military, as well as being built into many common home computer software applications, traditional strategy games like computer chess and other video games.

Copyright 1996 by NEC Research Institute and the Computing Research Association. Contributions to this document by Tom Dean and Jon Doyle are appreciated.

Back to Computing Research: Driving Information Technology and the Information Industry Forward (

Artificial Intelligence:
Realizing the Ultimate Promises of Computing

David L. Waltz
Vice President, Computer Science Research
NEC Research Institute
Bringing Common Sense, Expert Knowledge, and Superhuman Reasoning to Computers

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the key technology in many of today's novel applications, ranging from banking systems that detect attempted credit card fraud, to telephone systems that understand speech, to software systems that notice when you're having problems and offer appropriate advice. These technologies would not exist today without the sustained federal support of fundamental AI research over the past three decades.

Although there are some fairly pure applications of AI -- such as industrial robots, or the IntellipathTM pathology diagnosis system recently approved by the American Medical Association and deployed in hundreds of hospitals worldwide -- for the most part, AI does not produce stand-alone systems, but instead adds knowledge and reasoning to existing applications, databases, and environments, to make them friendlier, smarter, and more sensitive to user behavior and changes in their environments. The AI portion of an application ( e.g., a logical inference or learning module) is generally a large system, dependent on a substantial infrastructure. Industrial R&D, with its relatively short time-horizons, could not have justified work of the type and scale that has been required to build the foundation for the civilian and military successes that AI enjoys today. And beyond the myriad of currently deployed applications, ongoing efforts that draw upon these decades of federally-sponsored fundamental research point towards even more impressive future capabilities:

  • Autonomous vehicles: A DARPA-funded onboard computer system from Carnegie Mellon University drove a van all but 52 of the 2849 miles from Washington, DC to San Diego, averaging 63 miles per hour day and night, rain or shine;

  • Computer chess: Deep Blue, a chess computer built by IBM researchers, defeated world champion Gary Kasparov in a landmark performance;

  • Mathematical theorem proving: A computer system at Argonne National Laboratories proved a long-standing mathematical conjecture about algebra using a method that would be considered creative if done by humans;

  • Scientific classification: A NASA system learned to classify very faint signals as either stars or galaxies with superhuman accuracy, by studying examples classified by experts;

  • Advanced user interfaces: PEGASUS is a spoken language interface connected to the American Airlines EAASY SABRE reservation system, which allows subscribers to obtain flight information and make flight reservations via a large, on-line, dynamic database, accessed through their personal computer over the telephone.

    In a 1977 article, the late AI pioneer Allen Newell foresaw a time when the entire man-made world would be permeated by systems that cushioned us from dangers and increased our abilities: smart vehicles, roads, bridges, homes, offices, appliances, even clothes. Systems built around AI components will increasingly monitor financial transactions, predict physical phenomena and economic trends, control regional transportation systems, and plan military and industrial operations. Basic research on common sense reasoning, representing knowledge, perception, learning, and planning is advancing rapidly, and will lead to smarter versions of current applications and to entirely new applications. As computers become ever cheaper, smaller, and more powerful, AI capabilities will spread into nearly all industrial, governmental, and consumer applications.

    Moreover, AI has a long history of producing valuable spin-off technologies. AI researchers tend to look very far ahead, crafting powerful tools to help achieve the daunting tasks of building intelligent systems. Laboratories whose focus was AI first conceived and demonstrated such well-known technologies as the mouse, time-sharing, high-level symbolic programming languages (Lisp, Prolog, Scheme), computer graphics, the graphical user interface (GUI), computer games, the laser printer, object-oriented programming, the personal computer, email, hypertext, symbolic mathematics systems (Macsyma, Mathematica, Maple, Derive), and, most recently, the software agents which are now popular on the World Wide Web. There is every reason to believe that AI will continue to produce such spin-off technologies.

    Intellectually, AI depends on a broad intercourse with computing disciplines and with fields outside computer science, including logic, psychology, linguistics, philosophy, neuroscience, mechanical engineering, statistics, economics, and control theory, among others. This breadth has been necessitated by the grandness of the dual challenges facing AI: creating mechanical intelligence and understanding the information basis of its human counterpart. AI problems are extremely difficult, far more difficult than was imagined when the field was founded. However, as much as AI has borrowed from many fields, it has returned the favor: through its interdisciplinary relationships, AI functions as a channel of ideas between computing and other fields, ideas that have profoundly changed those fields. For example, basic notions of computation such as memory and computational complexity play a critical role in cognitive psychology, and AI theories of knowledge representation and search have reshaped portions of philosophy, linguistics, mechanical engineering and, control theory.

    Historical Perspective

    Early work in AI focused on using cognitive and biological models to simulate and explain human information processing skills, on "logical" systems that perform common-sense and expert reasoning, and on robots that perceive and interact with their environment. This early work was spurred by visionary funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Office of Naval Research (ONR), which began on a large scale in the early 1960's and continues to this day. Basic AI research support from DARPA and ONR -- as well as support from NSF, NIH, AFOSR, NASA, and the U.S. Army beginning in the 1970's -- led to theoretical advances and to practical technologies for solving military, scientific, medical, and industrial information processing problems.

    By the early 1980's an "expert systems" industry had emerged, and Japan and Europe dramatically increased their funding of AI research. In some cases, early expert systems success led to inflated claims and unrealistic expectations: while the technology produced many highly effective systems, it proved very difficult to identify and encode the necessary expertise. The field did not grow as rapidly as investors had been led to expect, and this translated into some temporary disillusionment. AI researchers responded by developing new technologies, including streamlined methods for eliciting expert knowledge, automatic methods for learning and refining knowledge, and common sense knowledge to cover the gaps in expert information. These technologies have given rise to a new generation of expert systems that are easier to develop, maintain, and adapt to changing needs.

    Today developers can build systems that meet the advanced information processing needs of government and industry by choosing from a broad palette of mature technologies. Sophisticated methods for reasoning about uncertainty and for coping with incomplete knowledge have led to more robust diagnostic and planning systems. Hybrid technologies that combine symbolic representations of knowledge with more quantitative representations inspired by biological information processing systems have resulted in more flexible, human-like behavior. AI ideas also have been adopted by other computer scientists -- for example, "data mining," which combines ideas from databases, AI learning, and statistics to yield systems that find interesting patterns in large databases, given only very broad guidelines.

    Case Studies

    The following four case studies highlight application areas where AI technology is having a strong impact on industry and everyday life.

    Authorizing Financial Transactions

    Credit card providers, telephone companies, mortgage lenders, banks, and the U.S. Government employ AI systems to detect fraud and expedite financial transactions, with daily transaction volumes in the billions. These systems first use learning algorithms to construct profiles of customer usage patterns, and then use the resulting profiles to detect unusual patterns and take the appropriate action ( e.g., disable the credit card). Such automated oversight of financial transactions is an important component in achieving a viable basis for electronic commerce.

    Configuring Hardware and Software

    AI systems configure custom computer, communications, and manufacturing systems, guaranteeing the purchaser maximum efficiency and minimum setup time, while providing the seller with superhuman expertise in tracking the rapid technological evolution of system components and specifications. These systems detect order incompletenesses and inconsistencies, employing large bodies of knowledge that describe the complex interactions of system components. Systems currently deployed process billions of dollars of orders annually; the estimated value of the market leader in this area is over a billion dollars.

    Diagnosing and Treating Problems

    Systems that diagnose and treat problems -- whether illnesses in people or problems in hardware and software -- are now in widespread use. Diagnostic systems based on AI technology are being built into photocopiers, computer operating systems, and office automation tools to reduce service calls. Stand-alone units are being used to monitor and control operations in factories and office buildings. AI-based systems assist physicians in many kinds of medical diagnosis, in prescribing treatments, and in monitoring patient responses. Microsoft's Office Assistant, an integral part of every Office 97 application, provides users with customized help by means of decision-theoretic reasoning.

    Scheduling for Manufacturing

    The use of automatic scheduling for manufacturing operations is exploding as manufacturers realize that remaining competitive demands an ever more efficient use of resources. This AI technology -- supporting rapid rescheduling up and down the "supply chain" to respond to changing orders, changing markets, and unexpected events -- has shown itself superior to less adaptable systems based on older technology. This same technology has proven highly effective in other commercial tasks, including job shop scheduling, and assigning airport gates and railway crews. It also has proven highly effective in military settings -- DARPA reported that an AI-based logistics planning tool, DART, pressed into service for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, completely repaid its three decades of investment in AI research.

    The Future

    AI began as an attempt to answer some of the most fundamental questions about human existence by understanding the nature of intelligence, but it has grown into a scientific and technological field affecting many aspects of commerce and society.

    Even as AI technology becomes integrated into the fabric of everyday life, AI researchers remain focused on the grand challenges of automating intelligence. Work is progressing on developing systems that converse in natural language, that perceive and respond to their surroundings, and that encode and provide useful access to all of human knowledge and expertise. The pursuit of the ultimate goals of AI -- the design of intelligent artifacts; understanding of human intelligence; abstract understanding of intelligence (possibly superhuman) -- continues to have practical consequences in the form of new industries, enhanced functionality for existing systems, increased productivity in general, and improvements in the quality of life. But the ultimate promises of AI are still decades away, and the necessary advances in knowledge and technology will require a sustained fundamental research effort.

    The Author

    David Waltz is Vice President of the Computer Science Research Division of NEC Research Institute in Princeton, NJ, and Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. From 1984 to 1993, he was Senior Scientist and Director of Advanced Information Systems at Thinking Machines Corporation in Cambridge, MA, where he headed a group that built a large-scale text retrieval system, a web search engine, and data mining systems. At the same time he was Professor of Computer Science at Brandeis. From 1974 to 1983 he was Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Waltz received the S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. degrees from MIT. His research, especially his work on constraint propagation and memory-based reasoning, has helped spawn active R&D fields.

    Waltz is President-Elect of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence and was elected a Fellow of AAAI in 1990. He was President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence from 1977-79, and served as Executive Editor of Cognitive Science from 1983-86 and as AI Editor for Communications of the ACM from 1981-84. He is a senior member of IEEE.

    Advancing Healthcare through Technology

    The Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (AIM) program is a research program of the Department of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The AIM program seeks to develop software to allow computers to process and analyze three-dimensional images of the heart in much the same way an experienced human operator would. The program applies artificial intelligence techniques to the measurement of parameters critical to understanding the state and behavior of the human heart. This automated approach allows information to be obtained very quickly that is quantitatively accurate and does not suffer from intra-observer or inter-observer variability.

    The software and algorithms developed by the AIM program are widely considered to represent the gold standard in nuclear cardiology. They can perform a totally automated, push-button sequence of actions relating to imaging processing and analysis.

    Through the AIM program, algorithms have been developed to:

    • Take raw digital data output by the gamma camera, identify where the heart is, reconstruct it into tomographic images and re-orient those images to make them perpendicular to the heart's axis - all without operator interaction.
    • Take tomographic images of the heart, evaluate the signals from several hundred portions of the myocardium, comparing the strength of the signals with those expected in a normal heart and generate an exact quantitative measurement of the location, extent and severity of perfusion abnormalities of the heart. This gives the physician objective information to help select or rule out more invasive treatment.
    • Analyze the dynamic functioning of the heart (i.e., the way it contracts and thickens during its cycle). A dynamic measurement of the heart cavity volume is performed from electrocardiographically gated three-dimensional nuclear cardiology images by automatically identifying the endocardial and epicardial surfaces and following their motion throughout the cardiac cycle.
    • The AIM programs are licensed and distributed by virtually every nuclear medicine camera manufacturer.

      i, robot

      I thought the concept of the storyline was good, as it could be conceived as realistic. Given the ever increasing advances in modern technology, one can, indeed, conceive the possibility of this kind of future occurrence.

      I did not really see any flaws in this movie or in the actor's character but the philosophical aspect of the movie questions at what point does artificial intelligence cease to be artificial and true consciousness arise? Anyhow, I did like the A.I. in this movie and would definitely recommend, especially if you like Will Smith movies are the Terminator series. I do, however, prefer there to be no sequels to this movie due to the fact that a sequel would probably be no more than a revamped version of the first one.

      Funny Artificial Intelligence Robot chats with you in human voice:P

      It's really funny program , check it out.