IBM grid computing patent application, targets base 10 arithmetic [CORRECTED]

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Ok, I made that last part up. But it’s only .2 degrees more ludicrous than what IBM was actually granted a patent for has applied for a patent on.

IBM logoIan Foster points to a smelly piece of patent action by IBM, and says really all that needs to be said:

We all know that the US patent system has its weaknesses: that every now and then, people get granted patents for things that are either well known or obvious.

…IBM has finally gotten around to applying for a patent on grid computing. For example:

a computer-implemented method of providing access to grid computing resources available to a plurality of users comprises receiving, from a requesting entity, a request to use a specific grid computing resource to perform a defined function; and routing the request to the specific grid computing resource in accordance with the request.

It’s not April, but I still read the patent grant application. Ian’s not fooling us.


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  1. The base-10 bit was closer than you thing… There were concerns about IBM’s DPD encoding in the IEEE-754r work. But people at IBM (e.g. Mike Cowlishaw) went far out of their way to produce a guarantee from IBM that DPD would be available to anyone with no royalties. Sounded like that required a lot of legal footwork and convincing inside IBM. This then forced Intel’s later BID contribution to have the same terms.

  2. It’s an application by IBM to the USPTO. It’s not a granted patent. The two things are significantly different.

  3. David: you are absolutely correct. I blocked the word “application” when I read the document. I’ve updated the post.

  4. I haven’t waded through the whole thing, but the claims look to be more along the lines of scheduling into a grid computing system than grid computing itself. Either way, there’s a lot of published prior art out there going back quite a few years that many might say indicates the technology in the application is well known.

  5. HPCer: that’s the same general conclusion that Ian drew in his post as well. I’m going to be interested to see whether this is a successful application. Not having been in a company that does as much patent work as IBM, I don’t know what percentage of their applications turn into granted patents, but on the other hand they have a LOT of patents so one suspects that they wouldn’t apply for something they didn’t feel like they’d get.

    Just guessing, though.