Our Purpose and Organizational Structure
Why Xalgorithms Was Started, and Where We Are Now
In 2015 there existed no open standard platform-agnostic way for algorithm owners to publish their rules to the Internet, and no open standard platform-agnostic way for users of commerce solutions to have those solutions fetch algorithms from the Internet.
We set out to contribute the components and protocols for this singular capability, and in particular, to create and offer it in such a way that any rules or compliance automation solution could readily integrate it, and would have a positive competitive incentive to do so. Xalgorithms places all our source code under the Apache 2.0 license, and our documentation under the CC-by or CC-by-na licenses, so that everything we produce can be readily adapted and intergrated. An Internet of Rules depends on the ubiquity of its underlying components and protocols.
We felt that companies offering rules automation and compliance services would benefit from an enormous reduction in the costs of maintaining all those external rules, such as tariffs, taxes, discounts, subsidies, fees, benchmarks, points systems, indicators, micro-payments, and others that surely will emerge with the pending arrival generalized market of algorithmic law and contracting.
Such a market that includes automated legislation and algorithmic contracting requires a practical and cheap way for computational rules to be published to, and fetched from the Internet in a standard, computationally efficient, scalable and flexible way in support of any transaction, hosted on any platform, to the requirements (and idiosyncracies) of any jurisdiction.
From the outset we felt that the component we would create should not stand on its own, rather by design it should supply only an auxiliary function. We called it “Lichen”, because lichens just grow on the sides of trees and rocks without interfering with them. These symbiotic organisms typically bring some additional color to those surfaces, but they seem reserved and minimalist.
Xalgorithms Foundation’s sole purpose is to support Xalgorithms Alliance, and we have designed Alliance membership categories for organizations and individuals with their own interests in the advancement and good management of the elements of an “Internet of Rules” (IoR). Members would of course compete with each other, but they would have good reason to cooperate on extending the Internet with this capability. To ensure that the Foundation itself cannot compete with the members of the Alliance who would be committing funds and in-kind R&D, the Foundation’s bylaws do not permit it to undertake fee-for-service work. It sells only memberships.
It seemed best to proactively sell memberships only once we had in hand source code that works at a proof-of-concept level, with a fully scalable system design to grown with. We reached that point in March 2017.
- Xalgo is a domain-specific method of expressing declarative relations found in contracts, standards, legislation, regulations and control systems (i.e. “rules”) in a manner that is optimized for scalable in-memory table-driven processing. A rule expressed in Xalgo will contain one or more authenticated algorithm logic tables, and may draw upon one or more authenticated reference data tables, each accessible from an authenticated repository on the Internet.
- Lichen provides three auxiliary functions to enhance any commerce, forms, payments or compliance solution:
- LichenCortex is a set of local user-controlled interfaces for devices to exchange information with an authenticated end-user in the role of a buyer or seller.
- LichenSymbiont is a distributed Internet service that, with user-authorization, can obtain, assemble and exchange data from a purchase order or invoice via the API of the host commerce platform.
- LichenMedulla is a distributed Internet service that compares available purchase order or invoice data with available algorithm logic tables, then performs the user-authorized computations, and posts the results for user-authorized retrieval.
Now have turned our attention to “priming the pump” of an Internet of Rules, and in the process we are advancing a formal Xalgo specification. We invite your participation.
The Relationship Between Xalgorithms Alliance and Xalgorithms Foundation
The organizational structure of Xalgorithms Alliance maps to our participation options.
- Xalgorithms Alliance (XA) is a contract-based association of members committed to fostering a free/libre/open Internet of Rules to advance the fairness and efficiency of commerce.
- Xalgorithms Foundation Inc. (XF) is a not-for-profit corporation operating globally from Ottawa, Canada, the sole purpose of which is to provide services to the Xalgorithms Alliance (XA).
Through 2017 the Foundation’s board will be developed with members from amongst organizations participating in the Alliance, and invited external advisors.