Algorithms

http://nosoftwarepatents.wikidot.com/knuth-to-pto

"I am told that the courts are trying to make a distinction between mathematical algorithms and nonmathematical algorithms. To a computer scientist this makes no sense, because every algorithm is as mathematical as anything could be.
An algorithm is an abstract concept unrelated to physical laws of the universe.
Nor is it possible to distinguish between "numerical" and "nonnumerical" algorithms, as if numbers were somehow different from other kinds of precise information. All data are numbers and all numbers are data. Mathematicians work much more with symbolic entities than with numbers."
Congres wisely decided long ago that mathematical things cannot be patented. Surely nobody could applies mathematics if it were necessary to pay a license fee whenever the theorem of Pythagoras is employed."

"Essayer d’établir une distinction entre des algorithmes mathématiques et des algorithmes non mathématiques n’a aucun sens."
"Le Congrès a sagement décidé il y a longtemps que les objets mathématiques ne pouvaient être brevetables. Il est sûr que personne ne pourrait plus faire de mathématiques s’il y avait obligation de payer un droit de licence dès que le théorème de Pythagore est utilisé."

- Donald Knuth (auteur de TeX)

lettre à l’Office des Brevets des Etats-Unis, 1994

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