31 July 2012

Materialytics is doing something genuinely different, and so far, there’s no handy language to describe it. This situation is common with new technology. For example: in the mid-1960’s, John McCarthy’s team at Stanford did pioneering work in computing, hoping to make machines “smart.” When college administrators and government grant-givers asked, “What are you people doing with our money over there?” they had no simple answer, and tended to launch into long explanations that made people sorry they had asked.


To ease the problem, they came up with the term “Artificial Intelligence” as a name for their field. “We’re working on Artificial Intelligence.” That didn’t mean much at the time, but sounded as if it should, and after fifty years of history, the phrase is loaded with implications that seem important to most people. It was a very effective coinage. Recently, we found ourselves facing a similar challenge regarding our work; thus, when somebody asks, “what are you doing?” our response is, “We’re working on Quantagenetics® – the science of classifying materials automatically.”


To expand on that a bit, the elements in every material are present in amounts and relationships that are unique to that material, indicating what they are, and where and how they were formed. Quantagenetics uses those relationships. We are happy to explain this in as much detail as anybody wants to hear, but over the next few years, the name and phrase should call to mind the approach we are taking, and less explanation will be required. Very briefly, the Materialytics Sequencing Station(M2S®) works because all materials of every kind…minerals, metals, meteorites, microorganisms, apples, oranges, etc…contain unique traces of the processes of their origin. Whether they are natural or man-made, their makeup is hugely complex. A traditional search for known specific features uses just a small percentage of the available information to make classifications.


Non-traditional Quantagenetics considers not tens, but thousands of variables in each sample of material it examines, and is able to group samples with extraordinary accuracy. M2S examines an unknown sample, and reliably determines whether or not it has seen anything like it before. M2S can relate a new sample to anything it has encountered in its past experience with materials. Its accuracy increases with experience. Quantagenetics is a practical science that allows us to distinguish the real article from a counterfeit or identify the countries, even the mines, from which minerals have come.


There’s much to talk about and clarify, but it should help to open the conversation with “Quantagenetics - the science of classifying materials automatically."