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ORION Active Structure

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Humans use an active structure in their heads to make sense of and interact with the world around them - a structure that is undirected to any particular purpose, dynamically extensible, long-lived, self-modifying and which carries complex messages within itself.

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It seems reasonable that machines intended to support humans in high level tasks should be capable of building a structure with similar properties - both because this is the only successful cognitive model we know of, and for ease of interaction with human users.

ORION Active Structure represents a new paradigm in the use of computers. For the first time, computer applications are possible that do not have the static and stereotyped behaviour of programs or other directed techniques such as artificial neural networks, expert systems, fuzzy logic, Bayesian networks - instead of being a data structure and an algorithm, the structure itself is active and dynamic.

We emphasise the cognitive layer in computer applications, the layer where directed and static methods such as programming are completely inappropriate due to complexity or dynamic variation. This cognitive layer typically appears wherever knowledge is used - in strategic planning for large organisations, or in many seemingly low level tasks such as text understanding, selling to a sophisticated buyer, or logistics management in a dynamic environment. These are areas where influences come from all directions or the world is changing too quickly for use of predefined streams of instructions that are years out of date.

Together with our licensees, we are currently bringing up several NLP applications in the areas of contracts, specifications, health records and semantic search, which we expect to be the first of many systems using natural language processing to provide knowledge to users. See some comments on why these areas was chosen for the first products. We have needed to extend Active Structure in some areas - areas which are useful for other applications. See Extensions to Active Structure.

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The properties of active structure give it many advantages in comparison to more rigid, static and directed technologies, such as programming or Expert Systems or Neural Networks or Logic Programming or Dataflow. These properties are brought out in our various products that use active structure. Our products cover almost all high level computer applications   - it may be easier to look at Specific Industries to find applications in your area.

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Technical Papers

Our technical papers describe the attributes of an active structure, and compare it with other paradigms which are rooted in the directionality of directed graphs or instruction streams or procedure stacks.

Active structure is moving towards the complex messaging in hugely parallel, rapidly self-modifying structures that typifies human mental apparatus, and away from the single value sequential messaging in static directed structures driven by algorithms that is typical of other attempts to use a computer to emulate human mental ability.

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Last modified: March, 2015