Friday, October 9, 2009

ORF 2009 News Recap


I've been blogging on my own web site ( and have not been active enough on this one. So, here is a recap of all the new about October Rules Fest 2009:

The Adolphus dramatically dropped their room rates down to $129 / night so that the attendees will not have to stay at a cheaper hotel nearby and walk in what might be inclement weather to the conference. Also, they can hang out in the Pub Night room and then only have to catch the elevator to their room.

Keynote Speaker: Thomas Cooper, a contemporary of Charles Forgy, Anoop Gupta, Paul Haley, John McDermott, Allen Newell and others of that era. Tom co-authored a book on OPS5 in the 80's and is one of the "thought leaders" of this industry.

Thursday Think Tank - T3: On Thursday afternoon we will feature our leading speakers in a Think Tank that is open to the Attendees as well. Since the session is all afternoon, there should be plenty of time for questions and, maybe, an answer or two.

Drools Boot Camp - DBC: All day Sunday and Monday morning. Led by Mark Proctor and Edson Tirelli this proved to be a source of great interest last year and it should be even more interesting this year. This is free for ORF Attendees.

Jess Boot Camp - JBC: Jason Morris of Morris Technical Solutions will be giving a Jess tutorial all day on Sunday and Monday morning. The schedule is posted and promises to be extremely interesting to those who like Jess and/or CLIPS as their primary rulebase language. This is free for ORF attendees.

Student Fees: Once again this year we have discounted Student Fees to $150 for the entire ORF session that includes the JBC and DBC. Students will need to send us a copy of their current photo-ID drivers license and their photo-ID Student ID card to qualify. The same cards will have to be presented at ORF for verification.

Ping Pong / Table Tennis and/or Foosball has been cancelled due to lack of interest. Sorry about that. I was looking forward to a tournament kind of evening.

White Papers and Presentations will be available during the conference for you to load on your computer to follow along. However, all will be copyrighted to either the individual speaker or to October Rules Fest Corporation.

Brochures will be available at the conference and electronically later this week. (Thanks, Chelanie). This will be a real keep-sake for your Golden Years.

So, if you haven't registered already, do so NOW. He who hesitates is lost. :-)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

More and more good news on ORF 2009


First, some GREAT news! We have re-arranged the Agenda so that we could accommodate a "Thursday Afternoon Think Tank on Needful Things." This would be a round table discussion (with some attendee participation) on various subjects that concern the more technical aspects of rulebased systems rather than their direct application to problems per se. Those who have agreed to be on the panel are Dr. Charles Forgy, Mark Proctor, Gary Riley, Dr. Jacob Feldman, Dr. Richard Hicks, Carole Ann Berlioz-Matignon, Carlos Seranno-Morales, Jason Morris and Paul Vincent. For example, a few of the topics will (might) be Complex Event Processing, Benchmarks in This Century, Patterns in Rulebased Systems, Finite State Machines as a Special Type of Rules, etc. This is focused more on the "hard core" developers and "thought leaders" in the rulebase field. However, ALL attendees and/or speakers are invited to attend and be part of the direction(s) that rulebased systems might take for the next decade.

Another change is that there will be another Drools Boot Camp (like last year) headed up by Mark Proctor. This will be co-located with October Rules Fest in The Adolphus hotel and will be all day SUNDAY and MONDY morning. Since Mark and Edson will be there anyway this was a great opportunity for another in a great series of DBCs that Mark has done in the past. The DBC will be absolutely free for ORF attendees but there will be a charge if you are attending DBC only so that we can pay for the room, coffee, etc.

Finally, the conference proper will start on MONDAY AFTERNOON rather than Tuesday morning. The lead-off speaker will be Lawrence Terrill on a really good explanation of the Rete Algorithm - one of the best that I have ever seen.

I've been reading through some of the early submissions of the White Papers for October Rules Fest and they are really outstanding! Dr. Charles Forgy's paper on parallel rulebased systems (need and solutions) is fantastic. As is that of Gary Riley on optimizing performance in CLIPS. Andrew Waterman submitted one on games and is looking for folks to submit more add-ons. Dr. Richard Hicks has submitted one on Validation and Verification that everyone should read. (He is giving each attendee a free copy of the game.) Dr. Daniel Levine's paper explores the inner-dimension of the brain itself, its own self-imposed rules and problems with "rational thought process." Remember, all of these will be available at no charge only to attendees at ORF 2009.

Anyway, you need to sign up (if you haven't already done so) and be sure to reserve a hotel room. We still have a few places left.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Table Tennis or Foosball - Chess or Checkers


October Rules Fest is pretty much an "All Rules All The Time" kind of place. But, some folks need a bit of respite from constantly being bombarded with this or that technical feature of which rulebased system and its importance and just need something to relax. Something that is not getting drunk at one of the many local bars or hanging out at in the restaurant trying to stay awake because the geek on the other side of the table just runs on and on and on and...

So! We added two polls on the left side of this page. One is whether you would like to have Foosball or Table Tennis at ORF 2009. The other asks if you would like Chess or Checkers at ORF 2009. If (and only if) you plan on attending October Rules Fest 2009, and you actually care about either one of these activities, please vote on which one. If you think that things like Table Tennis (sometimes called Ping Pong) and Foosball are totally unprofessional at a conference such as ORF, then vote for neither. On the other hand, if you believe that that these are compatible with any conference, then please for one or the other or both. If we get enough interested, then maybe we could arrange some kind of tournament in the evenings.

Most of all, I would appreciate your comments on this subject. Yes (and why) or no (and why). Personally, I like both TT and Chess so I voted for those two.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ORF 2009 Super Early Bird Discount Extension


October Rules Fest 2009 has extended the Super Early Bird discount of 20% off of normal registration fees to midnight, June 6th, 2009. Regular registration is $500 so that represents $100 savings. If you have any questions, check out for more info on speakers, agenda, etc. The hotel should be determined not later than Friday of this week, June 5th. Anyway, be SURE to register THIS WEEK to get the best savings. :-)

With parking at ANY hotel in downtown Dallas being astronomical (cheaper than New York, San Francisco, London or Paris though) it might be more economical to park-and-ride. There will be directions on the ORF web page at a later date about how to do that.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

October Rules Fest 2009


Well, ORF 2009 is ready to rock and roll in downtown Dallas again, only this year the conference will be in the center of the downtown Dallas restaurant district rather than on the outskirts like last year. Just point your Google Earth to 1400 Commerce Street in downtown Dallas and you'll see what I mean. Everything from MacDonald's to The French Room to the "ultra cool" Fuse restaurant. After we check them out, the ORF web site have an ever-expanding list of top (not necessarily expensive) restaurants within a two- or three-block walking radius.

We won't have the same space as last year so, counting the 30+ speakers that we will have, there will be room for only about 170 attendees - first come first served. So, register early and you will still get your 20% discount. There is still no extra charge for tutorials if you are attending the conference and this year's tutorial have a great line up. As a matter of fact, the entire agenda is great. As you can see from the speaker bios those who are returning and the new speakers for this year are strictly "top drawer" - the best of the best.

If your company is interested in becoming a sponsor, contact and let them know. Again, remember that there is room this year for only 170 attendees. Maybe 180, but that's about it. More on the hotel as it develops but it is down to a choice of only two really great hotels for the same price as last year - but more goodies.

So, register early and ensure that you have a great spot at the Second Annual October Rules Fest. Most of all, like last year, we're going to have FUN and we're going to enjoy ourselves.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Data for Manners 2009


OK, here it is.  As you can see, we have to possibility of adding some complexity regarding the teachers and socialites.  BUT, we'll do that only if the times are extremely low.

Benchmarking at ORF 2009


There have been many suggestions as to the problems for the vendors at October Rules Fest this year.  I have submitted one already (Einstein's Puzzle) and the "beginning" of another (Miss Manners 2009) but I have not done the data on the last one.  I really was hoping that an enterprise-size vendor (FICO, ILOG, Haley, Pega, ???) would find someone on staff that is not too busy and task them with this simple but time consuming job.  Didn't happen.

Geoffrey De Smet suggested that we use the benchmark problem from the ITC competition, that had to do with Exam Registration.  On the benchmarks page they said that it was running between 300 to 500 seconds on a "modern PC using Windows XP."  I would think that 5 - 10 minutes would be a bit long for my tastes but you never can tell.  Personally I prefer old-fashioned Unix (or UNIX if you're that old) rather than Windoze or even Linux.  

I have looked at this particular problem / benchmark and it appears to be more of an Operational Research (OR) problem in optimization than a rulebase problem.  We "could" require that the solution be done in a rulebase but those who have OR engines would scream bloody murder if we did.  

However, I leave it with you in the interim to determine what should be a good rulebase problem and what does not lend itself to simple "data smashing" of a typical "business" problem.  The problem should be fairly complex and require a bit of work on the part of the engine itself rather than depending on the operating system and database to do the work.  Please either comment (or if you have authorship privileges then blog) some kind of response to this.  Whatever is decided should be a problem that is long on complexity and short on blandness.  


ORF 2009 Abstracts Due in One Week


Short blog:  There is only one more week until the Abstracts are due for October Rules Fest 2009.  We have received about 11 or 12 right now and we have enough to do the conference with some really long session times.  :-)

BUT, we need more quality presentations.  We have five more persons that have promised abstracts by the 30th of April but we need to get those in so that the committee can review them without being too rushed.  It should not take more than five minutes or so to write up the abstract once the thought process of considering what to do and how to do it are completed.

What happens is that we should get about 30 abstracts in, cull out five or so that aren't actually applicable to the conference - although what we have so far is looking great - and then five or so will pull out before the actual white paper is due on July 1st.  After that, if the white paper has been submitted, they speakers usually complete the overheads without much of a problem.  Even if we get 30 or 40 that are good, we will have the time to present them.

So, get busy and get the abstracts submitted ASAP.  Thanks,


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

ORF 2009 Now Accepting Registrations


Great News!!  You can now register and get the Early Bird Discount at and click on Registration.  If you are interested in sponsoring, PLEASE fill out the for for Sponsor interest.  

Also note that we are filling up the speaker slots so if you have a talk PLEASE send that in to ASAP.  thanks,


Monday, March 30, 2009

Registration is NOT Ready Yet

Greetings: is not ready YET to accept applications but it should be by the end of the week.  I'll post a reminder when it is ready.  Remember, there is a deep discount for Early Bird signups.  One other thing:  If we don't get at least 20 for the tutorials on Monday we won't have that part, just the conference that starts on Tuesday.

Some of the speakers from last year have already signed up for this year and you can see their profile on the "Speakers Profile" tab.  If you want to speak, PLEASE submit an abstract BEFORE the 15th of April.  Thanks,


Problem Number Two


This one took a bit more thinking.  For the second problem, which we DO require that it be solved with a rulebase, we have an updated Ms. Manners (Miss Manners for this century) in which we have 

12 tables with 12 settings (or seats)
144 guests who have 1, 2 or 3 hobbies randomly assigned from a selection of 5

Hobbies are Tennis, Golf, Motorcycles, Chess and Poker

24 are politicians, 
12 Democrats
6 Democrats are female
12 Republicans
4 Republicans are female
24 doctors, 
8 pediatricians
6 Pediatricians are female
8 surgeons
4 Surgeons are female
8 osteopaths
2 Osteopaths are females
24 socialites
18 socialites are female
24 sports stars
8 basketball stars
4 basketball stars are female
12 football stars
4 baseball stars
24 teachers
10 teachers are female
24 Programmers
  8 Mac programmers
3 Mac programmers are female
8 Windows Programmers
6 Windows Programmers are female
8 COBOL Programmers
2 COBOL programmers are female

The objective is to put at each table
1 democrat 
1 republican 
2 doctors at each table but NOT two of the same kind
2 socialites at each table
2 sports stars at each table but NOT two of the same kind
2 teachers at each table
2 programmers at each table but NOT two of the same kind

Meanwhile, maintain a boy-girl-boy-girl seating arrangement

Also, each person MUST have someone (left or right) who has the same hobby.

A log should be kept for each table as it is completed.  We expect that some tables will be filled and then changed as needed.  If no solution exists then the rulebase should report that as well.  Perhaps we need two sets of data:  One that has a solution and one that does not just to see how the programmer and the rulebase deal with failure.

Data for this problem will be furnished on request so that we are all working from the same "possible" solution.  It would be really nice if the participating vendors were to have some nice college intern create the data.  Finally, the solution will be checked for accuracy and completeness.  Actually, it should be a simple enough problem and the rules, while not terribly complex, are left up to your discretion.  Ergo, nothing forced EXCEPT for a real solution.  Remember this is Ms. Manners, not Miss Manners.  Ms. Manners is an OO-Rulebase Problem.

Hopefully, all of the sponsors (vendors) at ORF will have the solutions for these problems ready for the attendees.  :-)


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Abstracts Guidelines


First things first: Abstracts (Tutorials or Conference) are due BEFORE April 15th. Please, please, please don't wait until the very last minute to try and think something up. You wouldn't let your kids (nor your students if you are a teacher) get away with something like that, would you? So, be kind to the Review Committee and submit early. You may submit TWO talks if you like and/or TWO presentations from the same company.

You can submit more than two per company for now and IF we have room later we can add them in - but for now with fewer talks taking more time it is going to be a tight squeeze. Also, if you plan on presenting during the Monday Tutorials, then you can, of course, present another talk during the regular conference.

Following is a format that we would like for you to use.

{title} [Centered and Bold]
[1, 2 or 3 column table containing the following]
{city1, state1, postalCode1, country1}

{city2, state, postalCode2, country2}

See for more details.

One or two paragraphs, about 100 - 300 words, that best describe the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of the White Paper itself. The abstract and references (the ones that you have so far) can be on the same page. References can be either an added page(s) or, if only two or three, on the same page as single-line-spaced footnote.

Use 12 point type and double-line-spacing for the abstract for now. (If in doc or docx format - or any other format that can be imported into MS Word - we can reformat but it would be nice if you did it up front.) 1" margin top and bottom with 0.5" margins on each side. Submit in either doc, docx or pdf format.

White papers will follow a similar format but submission characteristics will change slightly.

The conference papers will be a valid, refereed white paper that academics can use for their publications credentials. The Monday Tutorials have to be approved but are not refereed in the normal sense of the word.

Please feel free to contact info@OctoberRulesFest if you need anything more than what has been blogged already on the subject. So far we have the following abstracts that have been submitted with more promised this coming week:

Jason Morris
"Implementation of a Modified Propose and Revise Problem-Solving Method Using Jess"

Dr. Charles Forgy
"Possible Extensions To Rulebase Languages To Support Cooperating Rules Sets That Run In Parallel" (Or something like that)

James Owen
"Updating Rulebased Forecasting (RBF) To Use Modern Rule Engines"

Dr. Rick Hicks
"Automated Verification Testing for Propositional Logic Systems"

Dr. Jacob Feldman
"Rule Violations and Over-Constrained Problems"

Titles and abstracts may change "slightly" between now and July 1st when the final white papers are due. If you have some of the references ready now, please include them. And hurry! :-)


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ORF 2009 at First Blush


OK, this is a second call for white paper abstract.  It should be about 100 - 200 words that briefly (but completely) tell what will be the contents of your white paper.  This is due NOT LATER THAN 15 APRIL 2009.  So, hurry and get that part to us so that the "committee" can begin their review.  

We have received only one abstract to date but we have promises of about 10 so far.  PLEASE let me know SOON if you plan on speaking.  There were 12 or 13 who signed up to speak but this page did not report who they were - all voting was anonymous.  :-(  Thanks. 

ORF 2009 IS BACK IN DALLAS for the last week of October.  Three and 1/2 days this time, Tuesday morning through Friday noon.  Full details as they are available will be on the web page to go up later this week.  Early sign-up discounts for both the conference and tutorials.  Also, discounts for group memberships.  Probably only one Keynote Speaker this year unless we feel the need for more - let me know what you think.

TUTORIALS will be all day on Monday AND will be available only if we get at least 25 persons to sign up for them.  (The room will be the same room as the conference so we have to have enough to pay for the room, coffee, etc.)  However, we are going to try and persuade the sponsoring vendors do one-hour tutorials (four of them) in the afternoon.  The morning sessions will be introduction to rulebased systems and BRMS taught by several, very senior ORF members.  (That will be on the web page later this week.)

EARLY SIGNUP for the conference will begin later this week.  This will be the cheapest training course for rulebased systems and BRMS in the known world.  Most of the technical speakers from last year will be returning, including Dr. Forgy, Gary Riley, Dr. Feldman, Dr. Hicks, Edson Tirelli,  and Mark Proctor.   Subjects will range from Complex Event Processing (CEP) to RuleBased Forecasting (RBF) to Parallel Rulebased Systems to Dr. Forgy's new and improved algorithm that was announced earlier here on the page.

PUB NIGHT will be a published, established place where we will have reservations in advance.  Last year most of the Q&A was at Pub Night until closing.  What a rush!  But this year we can control the music level so that we can talk without having to shout at each other.

SPONSORS need to sign up soon.  The fees are along the same line as last year and we have sent the fee schedule to most of you already.  If you did NOT get one, let me know.  Without our sponsors, the conference will not happen.

So, come early and stay late.  Most of all, learn something and have fun doing it.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Einstein Puzzle in Microsoft Solver Foundation

As promised in my last post (, I had a look at the Express edition of Microsoft Solver Framework (, and used it to implement the Einstein puzzle using the built-in CSP solver and C#. Creating the solution proved particularly easy for the simple reason that Microsoft provides a worked example of a politically corrected ‘Zebra’ variant in their documentation (no tobacco or beer in sight). You will find this as Sample 8 in the SFS Programming Primer document that comes with the download.

To read more and see the code, visit

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Constraint Satisfaction and Rete

A few days ago, Daniel Selman of ILOG (now owned by IBM) published a solution to the Einstein puzzle. See He did this in response to a challenge from James Owen who is one of the organisers of the October Rules Fest conference. James invited the various vendors who have involvement in the conference to provide a solution using whatever approach they deemed best. See

Daniel suggests that, if ILOG had used a Rete rules engine, they would have had to implement 'convoluted rules' to solve the problem. Daniel is correct, but I thought it would be interesting to look a little deeper at why this is the case.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Job Board


While this is NOT a jobs board, we probably should start one for rulebase consultants.  For now, here is one that I know about:

BIZRULES is looking for a Haley Rules Modeler *

The Haley Rule Modeler designs and implements the Haley Rules using the Haley data model and rules. The Haley Rule Modeler is expected to have extensive experience implementing the Haley rules engine and should have experience implementing the Haley rules engine in the context of Seibel implementations.

* by "Haley Rules" the client means
- RuleBurst Rule Engine (BRE)
- SoftLaw Rule Engine (BRE) / Expert System (ES)
- Haley Office Rules
- Haley Expert Rules
- Haley Business Rule Engine (BRE)

This is for a long term project. RULEBURST/SOFTLAW experts anywhere in the world (Australia, UK, Canada, USA, etc.) are welcome to apply for this challenging opportunity! Relocation available for top candidates.

If you are interested and have experience with RULEBURST / SOFTLAW / HALEY RULES contact us or send your resume to

+1 305.994.9510

Call or email Rolando directly - not to me.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Solutions and Videos


Daniel Selman of ILOG presented the first solution by a vendor for the Einstein's Puzzle.  He has posted it at and he did it without using JRules.  I had two friends do this in about 20 minutes using only pieces of paper (not very scalable but it's one way) and some others doing it with spreadsheets - not scalable either.   Problem # 2 will be business related and probably be some kind of real-world constraint problem - but that will be next week.  You won't be able to do it with pieces of paper, for sure.

AKSO, Volker Grossman of Innovations Technology (Visual Rules) has put up a UTube video at that explains business rules and might be helpful to "noobies" in our industry.  And it's free.  Remember, I said "business rules" and not "rulebased solutions" - something that can be quite involved and complicated.  

But, check them out and see what you think.  Also, check out the other blogs listed on the left side of our page for more discussions on rulebased systems, CBP, CRM, RBF, and lots of other solutions.

The sign-up page for ORF 2009 is coming this week so check by in on Monday and sign up for October Rules Fest 2009.  Bigger and better and still in Dallas.  Next year in Nice.  (maybe?)


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Puzzle #1 for Conference


OK - the Einstein Puzzle is NOT a business problem BUT it represents a problem that is best solved by rules and/or constraints.  The complete description can be found  at'sPuzzle.html and we will review the various solutions at the conference.  I would have suggested the venerable Monkey and Bananas (MAB) but that one is way too easy and has already been solved many times over.

However, if each sponsor / vendor takes the time to have someone construct an elegant solution in whatever tool is deemed most appropriate, then the attendees can see how a fairly complex problem can be solved using whatever tool is handy.  I'm sure that the times to run such a simple problem will be extremely fast but what we can see will be the elegance (or lack thereof) in each vendor's tool box.  

Comment at will - but for now I haven't heard any suggestions whatsoever from anyone.  :-)  Puzzle # 2 should be a bit more complex and without the guidance of Einstein's Puzzle.  More on that next month.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

White Paper or Conference Paper


I would that folks who are "authorized" to blog here would blog rather than just comment.  On the other hand, some comments should be comments.  :-)  Here is the conundrum:  Some want to call what we are presenting at the conference a "Conference Paper" while what we have asked for is a "White Paper."  The very term, Conference Paper, generated a mini-storm about requirements, committees, academic standards, etc, etc, etc.  What we are asking to be submitted is a "White Paper" that may or may not contain references.  It's nice if they do but it's OK if they don't.  The Approval Committee is very sparse but, for now, consists of several "leaders" in this field who are not employed by a major corporation such as ILOG or Fair Isaac.

The LAST thing that we need is to be an academic conference OR to be a business meeting.  The former is far too stilted and dry while the latter is usually void of technical substance.  We have invited the very best of the very best of the very best (the creme de la creme de la creme) to participate and most of them have accepted.  Binding up the conference papers into a single collection that would be free for attendees and speakers and available for a minimal sum to others is not a big deal and we do NOT want to subject either the speakers nor the approval committee to "normal" academic conference mishmash and rigamarole.  On the other hand, we DO want the papers to be technical and address some of the issues outlined in the former blog on the call for White Papers.

Like some of you, I too have submitted (and had published) academic conference papers.  It's a pain to do the research, document almost every line with references, and your sole contribution is only about 10% of the total document.  For THIS conference, I would rather that the references and history part of the paper just be the list of references in the back of the paper and take up only 10% of the up-front text of the whole paper.  What we want to know is what are YOU presenting?  What is this new and innovative idea that YOU have and that you want to share?  What technically challenging idea did YOU have and  for which YOU devised a solution and YOU are presenting that solution?  In the words of an old Burger King commercial, "Where's the BEEF ?!!"  The conference is all about YOU and what YOU HAVE DONE - not about history and references and committees.

Maybe we will start something new in that we will have presentations that are exciting, technical, innovative and revolutionary and we will be sharing this with the wide spectrum of the  community of technical users.  The one continuing question from ORF 2008 (from the attendees) was that they want more presentations on HOW TO SOLVE THORNY PROBLEMS using a rulebase technology.  If you are presenting a new innovation, please tell us enough about it so that we can understand it - not just show results but explain HOW these results were made possible.  Also, remember, this conference in NOT just about rulebased systems and BRMS.  It's also about Prolog, LISP, AI, Constraint Based Programming, Complex Event Processing, Validation and Verification, Forecasting, Architecture, Modeling and lots more!!

Remember, Tutorials are on Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Newbies and Technical Business Managers (CIO, CTO, Project Managers, etc) will find that extremely helpful in understanding the rest of the conference.  This means that the conference presentation does NOT have to subscribe to the theory of presenting to the "lowest common denominator" of the attendees but to the architects and implementors of rulebased systems.

Most of all, we are there to have fun!  Vendors have new things to show off.   Architects and implementors have discovered new ways to solve complicated problems.  Scientists and researchers have new innovations to talk about.  And the attendees will be there to soak up every little thing and learn more in 3.5 days than they might learn all year from pouring through manuals and watching web casts.


Monday, February 9, 2009

New Algorithm From Dr. Forgy


A brief discussion of the new algorithm is posted at for your review and/or comments.  Of course, comments here should be viewable by more persons than that on my personal blog spot - especially since this blog has about 25 or 30 editors who can blog directly rather than just make comments.



Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ORF 2009 - Call for White Papers


Just a reminder that we need ALL proposed white paper abstracts in NOT LATER THAN 15 April 2009. However, the earlier that the abstracts are submitted, the easier will be our job since our "Approval Committee" is scattered around the world. Abstracts will be reviewed for

Technical focus
Potential interest to attendees

Possible subjects are:
Innovations to Rulebased Technology
Solutions to Technical Problems in Rulebased Technology
Homeland Security (problems with many object / many rules)
Processing Plants (Decisions on cracking tower problems)
Oil Rig or Building Design using Constraints
Shift Schedules using Constraint Based Programming
Scheduling Aircrafts, Trains, Taxis, Buses, etc.
Product Catalog Management
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Logistics (FedEx, UPS, etc.)
Configuration Problems (Aircraft, Computers, etc)
Complex Event Processing (Sliding Window Problem)
Rulebased Forecasting [my talk... :-) ]
Who gets a bailout and who doesn't :-)

Remember, this is a "sharing" conference where technical guys tell other technical guys HOW they did something.  We have seen plenty of PPTs about WHAT someone did, but we want to know how they did it.   For example, if you had to architect 20K rules and several thousand objects, how did you determine HOW to break out the rules into the various rule sets.  If you wrote something that utilized CEP then tell us HOW you solved the CEP problem.  What I'm going to share is the rational behind the RBF process, including the statistics, theory, etc.  Almost any business person should be really interested in reviewing their forecasting theory and statical classes.  :-)

Approvals for the abstracts will be sent out at the end of April or before so that you can get started on the white paper itself. At the end of the conference, the white papers will be collected into a Conference Proceedings. Whether they will be sold as bound copies (very expensive) or as electronic versions (no security in this one) we have not decided at this point. Probably, we will wait until we get the abstracts in before we make any kind of decision on that front.

The white paper itself must be submitted NOT LATER THAN 15 JULY 2009. Again, the earlier the better. The overhead that supports that goes along with the white paper must be submitted NOT LATER THAN 30 AUGUST 2009 in order to have it ready for the attendees.

At this point permit me to point out that we are not trying to be Geeks talking to Geeks about Geek things and nobody else should attend. Not at all! If you are a CIO, CTO, CEO or Senior Business Analysts then OF COURSE you are most welcome at October Rules Fest!  Especially if you want to learn about the "internals" of how a rulebased system actually works - something that I wish all business guys would do.  (Also, it's a great place to meet the Uber Geeks of the Rulebased Industry if you are looking for someone to help with your projects.)


Friday, January 30, 2009

Recap of 2nd Organizational ORF 2009 Meeting


MUCH better reception and participation this time thanks to Carole Ann. Here is a brief recap of what went on in case you missed it.

Location for this year will be Dallas and we will begin scheduling and promoting the Nice (or Southern France) location for 2010. This year we "probably" will return to the Sheraton and try to arrange for a quieter place for "Pub Nights" rather than a noisy bar that we had last year.

The dates will be the last week in October in order to allow European attendees to schedule one airfare for two conferences.

Monday will be tutorials ($100 - $200 extra charge) taught by various independent consultants thereby keeping it a vendor-neutral zone. Conference will begin on Tuesday morning and finish up on Friday noon. There will be either a 30 minute Q&A morning and evening of the speakers OR just one, one-hour Q&A each day as the final hour. (One session each day sounds good to me.)

Conference fee for attendees will be $500 with a $400 early sign up if done by August 15th. No charge for speakers. Each vendor/sponsor will be allowed two (and two only) attendees but will have a sliding scale reduced fee schedule for their "special" customers and attendees.

Meeting rooms will be one large room for main conference and a smaller room (about 1/2 of last year's meeting room) for Sponsor's booths where they can present their material and demos. Coffee and tea will be in the Sponsor room only to reduce congestion in the main room and allow time for Sponsors to meet with attendees. Bring your own bagels, cookies and/or donuts.

Presentations probably will be spaced so that we have one 30 minute break in the morning, about 2 hours for lunch, and one 30 minute break in the afternoons. If any Sponsor wishes we can arrange for an evening social hour with drinks for a nominal fee. There will be a map of available restaurants in the area from high-dollarup-scale places to quick-food mall-food-court places. All will be within a two-hour time frame to allow everyone to return in time for the afternoon sessions. (Let's face it, hotel food at these events is really terrible. A Big Mac and fries wold be much better.)

Diamond and Platinum vendor promotions will be on beer steins, T-Shirts, back packs, etc.

Presentations will be technical with the focus on applications; meaning, "How do you do..." Perhaps one on cyber security, another on bank loans, another on fraud detection, another on rule-based forecasting, another on transportation, another on constraint based programming, etc. However, these will be from the implementation point-of-view that explains in detail (without revealing intellectual property) showing code wherever possible and NOT a marketing presentation. Others will be on HOW to write a rulebase but not necessarily how to implement the Rete Algorithm. Hopefully Dr. Forgy will present something with more detail on parallel rulebased design and/or Edson Tirelli will explain parallel CEP implementation inside the rulebase.

At this time we have several committed speakers: Dr. Charles Forgy, Gary Riley, Jason Morris, James Owen, Larry Terrel, Greg Barton, Rolando Hernandez and Dr. Jacob Feldman.

Potentially, other speakers will be Carole Ann Berioz-Matignon (FIC), Edson Tirelli (Drools), Carlos Seranno-Morales (FIC), Daniel Selman (IBM/ILOG), Clive Spenser (LPA), Don Tallo (FIC), Dr. Ernest Friedman-Hill (Jess), Paul Haley (Haley Systems => Haley AI), Dr. Pedram Abrari, Paul Vincent (Tibco). John Zachman would be good. What we need are some folks from other disciplines such as RBF, CBP, etc. to add to our diversity. So far we still don't have active participation from Pega, Mind Box and other companies. It would be nice to have one theory presentation each day but that's just me talking.

Abstracts are due April 15th. The completed white paper (suitable for printing in a conference proceeding) is due June 30th. Slide presentations in PDF or PPT are due August 30th. Our Go/NoGo date is mid to late August.

So, that's it for now. Next organizational meeting (if there is one) will be in about two weeks. Comment on this blog unless you are an approved blogger for this space and then blog your thoughts. If you want to be a blogger, just send me an email and we'll set you up.


How about an expert panel discussion on the future of rules...

... on future innovations, applications, jobs, etc. in the rules business... i.e. whatever is on their minds? The idea is to have experts ask each other the questions that they ask themselves. Letting the audience listen in like flies on the wall could be eye-opening and informative.

All we need is a few speakers and a moderator for a 45"-1hour session. I vote for James to moderate and to bring the cane just in case.

This is a slight twist on the idea I mentioned on the call to have experts talk to each other about their biggest "challenges". Obviously vendors don't want to air their dirty laundry. Instead, why not put them on stage and hear their thoughts on the industry, future directions, challenges and opportunities we all face.

Rolando Hernandez

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ORF and Sponsorship

Many years ago I co-ordinate the Practical Applications of Prolog conference with Al Roth [now sadly deceased]
For 4-5 years we build up the event and diversifed into Constraints, KM, and finally Agents.
PAAM was a big success.
We had reviewed submitted papers and a handful of selected invited keynote speakers with a Program Committee of the great and good etc.
We made money thru:
- sponsorship [I trawelled round all the vendors and some publishers and the European Commission]
- delegates [we ended up with three hundred plus over the week - they could mix and match events/tracks]
- proceedings [we printed and sold the proceedings and back copies]

Most were in London and one year we went to Paris.

Sadly, with Al's untimely death, his widow inherited the business, took it to Manchester and proceeded to kill it off quite successfully.

Lessons Learned:
Fix Dates as early as possible
Avoid Holidays
Choose convenient location for both delegates, sponsors and coordinators
Try and Keep Costs down and have ability to scale down as well as up
Don't print/mail anything if possible - use the internet and mail groups etc
People like to get away early on Fridays and arrive late on Mondays

In the old days, you used to have to back into a weekend to get reduced air-fares [Saturday night stay] - dunno to what extent this holds

Get sponsors to underwrite expenditure ASAP - early commitement should be rewarded thru preferential treatment and choice of slots, booths, spaces etc

Have a good budget model and try to stick to it! And have a contingency entry for the unforseen [expect the unexpected]

Understand who you audiences are [multiple audiences are OK] - and what they want out of such an event
a] techies deep into the exisiting technology and familiar with an existing product
b] vars/consultants already involved with technology thru one or more products
c] people who may want to get involved with the technology
d] potential end-users [prospects, suspects]
e] academics
f] industry commentators/analysts

Benefits and Objectives
a] let people mingle - its all about networking - create the room and environment and right mix of people
b] people want to talk to real practitioners [not theoreticians and not salespeople]
c] vendor indepedant ethos
d] hands-on tutorials if possible
e] keep attendance affordable and value-for-money

Sponsorship - 9 months is already tight
My focus was sponsorship - benefits were:
a] access to delegates at event
b] ability to help shape program - maybe nominate an invited speaker or two
c] visibility on event web-site
d] access to event mailing list /enquiry list
e] logo on proceedings
f] sponsor breakfasts, mugs, cups, delegate bag etc
g] press access - arrange strategy briefing
h] ability to invite delegates at a reduced rate
i] invitations for exhibition
j] 1 or 2 free delegate places - with/without lunch
k] option to organize satellite events

To me, vendors were always the key - after all they bankrolled the event - they could use the event as a springboard to meet with all sorts of people, launch/announce products and develop relationships ... with their help we were able to reach all sorts of people at various stages of exploring/exploiting the technology on show

Clive Spenser
Hope this is not too obvious and helps ...

ORF 2009 - Second Organizational Meeting


Fair Isaac has been kind enough to provide a clear land-line with an 800 number call-in for most countries. Please use the applicable 800 number below with the appropriate access code.

+ 800 867 8062 (USA)
+ 800 0030 6406 (International)
Access code for call in: 9187008
See for all of the call-in numbers

We're changing the time a bit to make it easier for our European counterparts to participate. Unfortunately, this makes it really early for AU, Japan, Hawaii, etc. but so far we haven't had anyone wanting to call in from there so until someone tells me differently, we don't have a problem.

Friday, January 30th
8:00 a.m. PST (San Jose etc)
10:00 a.m. CST (Chicago etc)
11:00 a.m. EST (NYC etc)
4:00 p.m. UK
5:00 p.m. France and Germany
3:00 a.m. Saturday (AU and parts of Asia)

Here's the problem: How technical can we become without losing attendees and/or sponsors? I would like to have seen more code and far less "typical PPT" screen presentations last time but that isn't what we got. Also, if we're going to have a Conference Proceedings publication, then we need "real" white papers. We need some talks on Prolog, Rete++, Hyper-Rete, performance enhancement methods, what makes life easier for the KE (Knowledge Engineer), etc. Rule-Based Forecasting will delve into what you forgot about statistics. What about Neural Nets married to a rulebase?

Also, the tutorial idea is good but we need to discuss if the vendors can do that or should we arrange for a separate time for that. Personally, I think that we can do the tutorial part with just Rolando, Larry, myself and one or two others on Monday morning, and start the "real" conference on Monday afternoon and finish up Friday noon. If the vendors want to do "full blown" demos then maybe we can arrange for them to be doing that in another room near the conference as a second "track" kind of thing.

Location: The votes are 11 for Dallas and 11 for France. (I voted for France.) However, from a practical point of view the exchange rate will probably put it back in Dallas. Also, if anyone so desires, they can go directly from ORF to BRF. This is especially helpful for our European attendees and it has been one of their many requests. (But, consider, that our conference is for the technical guys and BRF is more for business guys - not the same audience at all.)

We expect the group call this Friday to last only about an hour but here is a tentative agenda of topics:

Start on Monday with Tutorials and Monday afternoon with Conference?
Conference on TWT or WTF
(TWTF stopping Friday Noon?)
Abstracts are due April 15th
Papers are due June 15th
Conference Proceedings to be published (paper or on-line only?)
Sponsor Demos in another room on Tuesday
Sponsors (who?) need to sign up now
Where (It's beginning to look a lot like Dallas)
Promotions (T-shirts, mugs, etc.?)
Pub Nights (any preferences? Hotel room, conference room, what?)

Anyway, this might be the last (or penultimate) group call since most of the arrangements. Whatever we decide has to be done before the end of February.


Friday, January 23, 2009

1st ORF 2009 Organization Meeting


In a word, SUCKS! Skype can't handle the few number (15 or so in the beginning) that we had. BUT, next time Carole Ann at Fair Isaac has a 150 dial-in 800 number that we can use. So, we'll return to using POT (Plain Old Telephone) protocol. :-)

This week:

Tutorial: Details still sketchy but we agreed to having them on Tuesday, maybe just Tuesday morning and beginning the conference at noon on Tuesday.

One-session track agreed upon. (Wasn't it?)

Sponsorship: We need a listing of what sponsors can get other than the email addresses of all attendees. After all, even though we are cheap compared to other conferences, it is still a chunk of change for a company to put up just to have a booth and tell folks about their product. We're open to suggestions...

Stop on Friday at noon so folks can be home for Friday Night Lights. :-)

Q&A eiher:
45 minutes every morning just before lunch and every evening before quitting
60 - 75 minutes everyday as the last session

White Papers to be bound and sold to help finance the conference. Not much but something.

Perhaps get an independent organization to handle everything for us since most of us now have full-time jobs. Well, almost everyone.

Next time: Carole Ann has an 800 number dial-in that will handle up to 150 call-ins. I'll let her blog here about the details about when, numbers, etc.

So, if you HAD to miss one, then this one was the one to miss. :-)


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Organizational Skype Call for ORF 2009


If you follow this blog, and you want to be an integral part of helping to organize October Rules Fest for 2009, then you should send me an email with your Skype ID. We're planning on having our first organizational meeting on Friday at 2:00 p.m. CST. That's 12:00 p.m. PST, 3:00 EST, 8:00 p.m. in the UK and parts of Ireland, 9:00 in France and Germany and 7:00 a.m. in Australia. This "seems" to be the best time in order to have everyone participate.

So, send me your Skype ID and we'll see what we can do. Skype will handle 25 at one time so let me know when you decide to participate. Thanks,


Monday, January 19, 2009

Interactive Workshops

I like the idea of BR experts running workshops that deal with different rules representation and management problems. I volunteer to run a 2-hours workshop during ORF2009. I will take a half-page example with relatively simple loan verification rules that include mitigations (I received these rules from a major financial institution). Together with the audience we will develop 4 different representations of these rules using simple Excel tables and discuss pros and cons of each implementation. We may run the rules against different test scenarios using OpenRules or another BR product (it is really not so important). Hopefully, it would be a practical exercise that will demonstrate serious rules representation problems that come directly "from the trenches". Hopefully other people would suggest their own workshops. The ORF audience may appreciate interactive workshops more than standard presentations.


Friday, January 16, 2009


Hi everyone! I'm sorry I'm late to the show, it's been very busy for us!

I have a few ideas that I thought I would run by the group. Feedback is always welcome.

I'd love to see the vendors sponsor a "bake off" of sorts, where a reasonable (for the time alloted) use case is kept private. The morning of the bake-off, each vendor will get an hour to study the use case and then have a few hours to use their respective tools and then present their solution to the attendees. (You may get more vendors as sponsors this way as well.)

The use case should be one that is applicable to all of the BRMS products on the market, and can be extremely technical. Perhaps you could provide a SOA infrastructure for web services calls, database, etc. I think if you get one vendor to bring down a server running VMWare, you can have various instances of a database, application server, etc... all running on one well equipped machine.

Points will be given on various criteria, as determined by the judges or panel, etc. Every vendor will be given an opportunity to showcase their solution and execute it, metrics can be taken (if reasonable considering the environment), etc.

Given the amount of time, I don't think that having a sequential bake-off and RETE-based bake-off is possible. The use case should be able to be solved both sequentially or by RETE.

(Sorry James, but the 64 queens contest isn't a real business use case.) :)

There is so much marketing hype out there, it would be nice to get "technical" and "put up, or shut up..." :)


Also, ending on a Friday night and expecting people to leave on Saturday will not work for most. I'm not even sure if dove tailing this to the BRF is a good idea either, as you want the most attendees. Spacing it out by a month or more may allow for more people to attend both conferences.

If you want the MOST attendees, then have it on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Airfares are cheap with a Saturday night stay, and if people have to take vacation time for the conference, they will only need one or two days, depending on where they are traveling from / to.


David Kim, CEO
Innovations Software Technology Corp.