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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Apparatus and Methods for Organizing Data Items Having Time of Life Intervals", for Approval

July 1, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors ROSENBERG, BARR (THE SEA RANCH, CA); HOWARD, MARK GILBEAU (ORINDA, CA); SCHOELLER, BERND KURT ALEXANDER (LONDON, GB); BAY, TILL GASTON BALZ (ZURICH, CH), filed on February 18, 2014, was made available online on June 19, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Rosenberg; Barr.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Most computer systems store and process information. This information is a model of objects in the real world, including physical objects, with all of their complexity and details. Sometimes it is possible to define ahead-of-time a clear data structure for a particular application, or use, of this real world data, with the right level of accuracy. However, much of the real world data stored and processed by modern computer systems cannot have a clear data structure imposed on it before it is understood what uses this data will be put to.

"For example, a system that captures information about companies and company relations to help decision-making and risk analysis needs the flexibility to constantly re-think, or modify, what information is stored. Adding new fields to a traditional database requires a global change to the whole schema. For example, even if a given field of information is only relevant for a specific company, the field is added to every company in the database. The only way to reliably and permanently remove information from a traditional database is to delete it. Any other mechanism (such as marking the information as deleted) exposes a risk of creating an inconsistent database, because the related information remains in the database, even though its underlying database entry is not valid anymore. Thus it is possible that this non-valid data could be accessed by a user of the database, creating unintended consequences or errors.

"Thus there is a need for an apparatus and methods that permit data items which reflect facts about real world objects to be stored, organized and manipulated using a structure that does not impose rigid structure to the data, and that allows a set of stored data to be easily stored, accessed, updated, and manipulated for a variety of purposes."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In an aspect of an embodiment disclosed herein, a data item stored in the apparatus is represented as an entry comprising an item of information, and a time of life interval for that item of information.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, the data items are stored in a directed acyclic graph, having parent and child nodes.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, the time of life interval of a child node is always within the time of life interval of that child's parent node.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, the directed acyclic graph is updated with changed values by splitting a node containing the old value into a new node, containing the changed value and a new time of life interval which begins as of the time of the change in value, and retaining the old node with the old value and an updated time of life interval that is terminated as of the time of the change in value.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, relations between data items are represented by edge types within the directed acyclic graph.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, the directed acyclic graph is indexed using an index table.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, access to each data item is controlled by a permission list for that data item.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, the data items are accessed using a query language.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, the results of a query on the data items are expressed as a directed acyclic graph that is a subset of the queried data items.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, updates to the directed acyclic graph are made by merging a new directed acyclic graph with the existing directed acyclic graph.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, changed data in the directed acyclic graph is preserved using versioning to retain prior versions of the directed acyclic graph.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, legacy databases are transformed into directed acyclic graph data structures having parent and child nodes, storing data items comprising an item of information, and a time of life interval for that item of information, such that the time of life interval of a child node is always within the time of life interval of that child's parent node.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, these legacy databases are merged into a larger directed acyclic graph data structure containing data from a plurality of legacy databases.

"In another aspect of an embodiment of the invention, this merged database is further transformed into a plurality of subset databases, each subset database comprising data items from a plurality of the legacy databases.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a graphical representation of a journal data structure, according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 2 is a graphical representation of a node in a journal data structure, according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 3 is a graphical representation of an updated journal data structure, reflecting a change in the value of a piece of information for a real-world object, according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 4 is a graphical representation of an alternative type of journal data structure, according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 5 is a representation of the architecture of a system using a journal data structure, according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 6 is a representation of a data storage format, according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 7 is a representation of a journal data structure reflecting stock transactions for a company's stock, according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 8 is a representation of a method of querying a journal data structure, to return a sliced journal data structure, according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 9 is a representation of a method of updating a journal data structure, using a client/server implementation, according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 10 is a representation of a method of using the journal data structure of an embodiment of the invention to transform a plurality of legacy databases into a combined database with the journal data structure.

"FIG. 11a is a representation of a record in a legacy database.

"FIG. 11b is a representation of the record of FIG. 11a, transformed into a journal data structure according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 11c is a representation of an update record in a legacy database.

"FIG. 11d is a representation of the journal data structure of FIG. 11b, updated with the update record of FIG. 11c, according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 12 is a computer system on which the journal data structure of an embodiment of the invention is stored and manipulated.

"FIG. 13 is a processing unit belonging to the computer system of FIG. 12.

"FIG. 14a is a job title secondary directed acyclic graph.

"FIG. 14b is a graphical representation of an updated employment data structure, reflecting changes in job titles, according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 15a is priority level secondary directed acyclic graph.

"FIG. 15b is a graphical representation of an updated priority level data structure, reflecting changes in priority levels, according to an embodiment of the invention."

For additional information on this patent application, see: ROSENBERG, BARR; HOWARD, MARK GILBEAU; SCHOELLER, BERND KURT ALEXANDER; BAY, TILL GASTON BALZ. Apparatus and Methods for Organizing Data Items Having Time of Life Intervals. Filed February 18, 2014 and posted June 19, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=839&p=17&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140612.PD.&OS=PD/20140612&RS=PD/20140612

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Information Technology, Information and Data Architecture.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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