Two patents were awarded to Microsoft Corporation earlier this month covering methods for identifying and categorizing the gobs of disparate information types that float in cyberspace. One similarity in both methods is the generation of feature vectors based partly on the extraction and ranking of keywords in relation to other words from the same post.
The first patent U.S. 7,590,612 applies to the blogosphere, and it aims to map blog posts to help with the navigation and searching of blogs. According to the patent, blogs are typically user-defined material which makes the content difficult to classify into distinct categories. Thus, the patent proposes a computational mapping method to make it easier for users to know when there is a change in topic, what topics were being discussed and where to find specific blog posts which interests them. Each blog post is converted to a feature vector to be placed on the map and labeled. By employing various tools, the attributes of each feature vector can be scaled up or down in complexity.
The second patent U.S. 7,590,603 applies to online discussion threads, typically those providing customer support assistance. The patent proposes a computer-based classifier which is trained to distinguish when a message is deemed to be a question type message. According to the method described, the classifier is capable of sorting out messages which are relevant to a user query, then finds a suitable answer which had already been given in an earlier message, and display this answer to the user. The classifier is also capable of ranking answer type messages in terms of relevancy to a specific query.
Genomics Health and Rush-Presbyterian-St. Lukes Medical Center received a joint patent on August 4, 2009 for gene sets meant for use in the diagnosis and prognosis of breast cancer patients, specifically patients having estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer.
Included in the patent were ways to predict the likelihood of a patient's long-term survival without recurrence of the disease, by finding out what genes were presented in the patient's tissue sample as compared against normal breast tissue.
The genes were divided into groups called gene sets, of which a 14- and a 31-gene sets were covered in the claims. Further variations of gene sets were also mentioned in the rest of the patent, including a multitude of 10-gene sets. Particular emphasis was placed on the expression level of the MYBL2 gene in a patient's tissue sample, which was said to positively correlate with an increased likelihood of recurrence of breast cancer.
The patent also included a personalized genomic profiling method for a patient. This method generates a report which contains an estimate of a patient's likelihood of long-term survival without breast cancer recurrence, together with a summary of the data obtained from the gene set assay results.
NEC Tokin Corporation this week received a U.S. patent 7,566,828 for a solar-powered charger meant for use with rechargeable lithium batteries, the type that is likely used in wireless devices such as mobile phones and notebooks. Silicon semiconductor was mentioned as a candidate for the solar cell module component of the charger.
The patent also specified that the charger is capable of charging the battery in a stable way even when charging conditions are less than ideal. For example, when the sunlight intensity is low, or when there is impedance from the battery and wirings. This feature seems to be accomplished collectively by a number of components, including a reverse-current preventing element, an overvoltage protecting element and a charge on/off controlling circuitry arrangement.
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