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Intel Patents 'Multiplying Two Numbers'

By - Source: USPTO | B 62 comments

There are countless ways of multiplying two numbers such as 15 * 15.

Even if you don't live in mathematics, you just need to be the parent of a third grader to know that there are simple, complex, confusing and very efficient ways how to calculate the product of two numbers. In fact, efficiency is a big deal still today, especially in computer sciences, and it is quite fascinating to watch the work that is going on in this area.

Intel was granted today a patent that is simply headlines as "multiplying two numbers." It is based on the fast Karatsuba algorithm, which has been around for about 50 years and has been improved several times since its publication in 1962. Intel's patent addresses extremely large numbers for cryptography applications and the bottleneck of 32-bit and 64-bit processors when they are dealing with protocols that include numbers ranging from 1024 to 4096.

The patent does not reveal exact numbers on how much faster the technique could work when compared to previous approaches. However, at least partial tests mentioned in the patent suggest that just modular reduction approaches can accelerate 512 bit number operations by 27% and up to 177% for 4096 bit numbers.  

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  • 14 Hide
    ikefu , April 19, 2011 11:15 PM
    Patenting math seems like seems like a very bad and corrupt patent. You didn't invent the math, you just discovered it. How can you prevent other companies from multiplying numbers in one way or another. That's bad for the industry and bad for consumers

    Now, if you want to patent a particular circuit that uses said approach of multiplying the numbers. More power to you! You actually invented that and its yours by rights. But you need to patent the invention and not the discovery.

    Just because Newton discovered gravity doesn't mean he had exclusive rights to it and could sue anyone else who decided to use gravity to in their inventions.
Other Comments
  • 14 Hide
    ikefu , April 19, 2011 11:15 PM
    Patenting math seems like seems like a very bad and corrupt patent. You didn't invent the math, you just discovered it. How can you prevent other companies from multiplying numbers in one way or another. That's bad for the industry and bad for consumers

    Now, if you want to patent a particular circuit that uses said approach of multiplying the numbers. More power to you! You actually invented that and its yours by rights. But you need to patent the invention and not the discovery.

    Just because Newton discovered gravity doesn't mean he had exclusive rights to it and could sue anyone else who decided to use gravity to in their inventions.
  • 5 Hide
    gcaughey , April 19, 2011 11:20 PM
    I just hucked a lugie, where's my patent?
  • 3 Hide
    K2N hater , April 19, 2011 11:20 PM
    I guess whoever approved it can barely do 1+1.
  • 5 Hide
    Marco925 , April 19, 2011 11:27 PM
    I Patent Division!!!!

    Don't cross me or i'll divide by 0. that will destroy EVERYTHING!!!
  • 4 Hide
    gerchokas , April 19, 2011 11:28 PM
    ikefuPatenting math seems like seems like a very bad and corrupt patent. You didn't invent the math, you just discovered it. How can you prevent other companies from multiplying numbers in one way or another. That's bad for the industry and bad for consumers
    Now, if you want to patent a particular circuit that uses said approach of multiplying the numbers. More power to you! You actually invented that and its yours by rights. But you need to patent the invention and not the discovery.
    Just because Newton discovered gravity doesn't mean he had exclusive rights to it and could sue anyone else who decided to use gravity to in their inventions.


    K2N haterI guess whoever approved it can barely do 1+1.


    Im equally indignated. What's next, patenting ways to breathe?? Patents are private, and gradually, they're patenting freedom..
  • 1 Hide
    ericburnby , April 19, 2011 11:33 PM
    The people who say they are patenting math obviously know nothing about computer software at the lowest levels.

    It seems clear to me that Intel has come up with a specific method of manipulating bits to come up with a result that's much quicker than previous methods.

    For example, you can't patent a word processor, but if your word processor uses specific algorithms to make it perform better than someone else, then you should be allowed to patent those specific algorithms. And you should be allowed to have some form of recourse if another company somehow obtained your code and used it to improve their products. Hence getting a patent on an algortihm.
  • 0 Hide
    gerchokas , April 19, 2011 11:40 PM
    ericburnbyThe people who say they are patenting math obviously know nothing about computer software at the lowest levels.It seems clear to me that Intel has come up with a specific method of manipulating bits to come up with a result that's much quicker than previous methods.For example, you can't patent a word processor, but if your word processor uses specific algorithms to make it perform better than someone else, then you should be allowed to patent those specific algorithms. And you should be allowed to have some form of recourse if another company somehow obtained your code and used it to improve their products. Hence getting a patent on an algortihm.


    Anyway, an algorithm IS mathematic. In fact, every aritmethic/logical ecuation you use for a function IS an algorithm.
    So where is that slim line where you can say "this is universal, and this what I discovered". There shouldnt be any.
  • 0 Hide
    razzb3d , April 19, 2011 11:49 PM
    I swear, if these companies don't stop patenting nonsense i'll become a mad scientist, develop a terrible weapon of mass destruction and END US ALL!!!!

  • 4 Hide
    husker , April 19, 2011 11:54 PM
    "...when they are dealing with protocols that include numbers ranging from 1024 to 4096."

    Should read "...1024 to 4096 bits in length"
    4096 x 4096 is only 16,777,216 and almost any calculator can do that math.
    A 4096 bit number is something in the range of 1 with a thousand 0's after it. Now try multiply 2 of them together.
  • 0 Hide
    ericburnby , April 19, 2011 11:58 PM
    gerchokasAnyway, an algorithm IS mathematic. In fact, every aritmethic/logical ecuation you use for a function IS an algorithm.So where is that slim line where you can say "this is universal, and this what I discovered". There shouldnt be any.


    Using your logic no software should be allowed to be copyrighted or have a patent. No method for doing video/audio compression. No security algorithms. Not even a game, since all software, no matter what it does, can be broken down into mathematics.
  • 4 Hide
    bison88 , April 20, 2011 12:13 AM
    Umm, sounds like an algorithm to me and wouldn't a copyright be a more proper choice not a patent? I don't know, the whole damn system no longer makes any sense and Corporations know it and are abusing the system.
  • 1 Hide
    schmich , April 20, 2011 12:14 AM
    ericburnbyUsing your logic no software should be allowed to be copyrighted or have a patent. No method for doing video/audio compression. No security algorithms. Not even a game, since all software, no matter what it does, can be broken down into mathematics.

    And on the other side of the logic even 1+1 should be able to be patented then?
  • 0 Hide
    gerchokas , April 20, 2011 12:14 AM
    ericburnbyUsing your logic no software should be allowed to be copyrighted or have a patent. No method for doing video/audio compression. No security algorithms. Not even a game, since all software, no matter what it does, can be broken down into mathematics.


    Put simple: Let's say you make cakes and start selling them. You're making them -> they're Yours. But those cakes can be "broken into" ingredients, but does that give you the right to patent the ingredients for Your cakes? No, just sell the cake, which is the sum of those parts.
  • 1 Hide
    ericburnby , April 20, 2011 12:31 AM
    gerchokasPut simple: Let's say you make cakes and start selling them. You're making them -> they're Yours. But those cakes can be "broken into" ingredients, but does that give you the right to patent the ingredients for Your cakes? No, just sell the cake, which is the sum of those parts.

    You are truly clueless about software development.

    If I invent a new ingredient and use it to make tastier cakes, then I should be able to patent the formula to make that ingredient. Nobody can patent a cake.
  • 1 Hide
    memadmax , April 20, 2011 12:37 AM
    They're patenting a formula, not the concept....
  • 0 Hide
    gerchokas , April 20, 2011 12:44 AM
    ericburnbyYou are truly clueless about software development.If I invent a new ingredient and use it to make tastier cakes, then I should be able to patent the formula to make that ingredient. Nobody can patent a cake.


    Ok, we clearly have different conceptions about it. I understand an ingredient(algorithm) as a factor, not a product. So (in my opinion) should not be patentable. The cake (program), on the other hand, is your product, so you should be able to get the patent.
    I actually have a clue about SD, since thats what i've been doing for the last few years.
  • 0 Hide
    pelov , April 20, 2011 12:46 AM
    I'm not sure how it works in software development, but in biochemistry the pharmaceutical companies issue "general patents" where the chemistry that's patented is very very rough and there are many variables. They do this in order to protect not just the single active chemical but rather all of the potentially active ones that can be derived from those R groups. Thus when the patent runs out on the initial formula they can issue another by revealing an R group (variable), and so on until their patented stuff works just as well as the other generics (which usually takes years and they've already seen millions and billions in profit).

    Point being that companies issue very broad and general patents in order to 'protect' their intellectual property but also shaft the public and the competition by doing so for years down the line. Is this the same deal? it's not a patent on multiplying two numbers, but maybe still general enough that they cover a wide range of bases?
  • 0 Hide
    gerchokas , April 20, 2011 12:58 AM
    Quote:
    Pelov


    I think it is. I'm not against their protecting they're intellectual property, which is a right, but I guess that the discussion here has more to do with The line between science and technology, and where each of us consider it to be.. Science IS universal, non-patentable; on the other hand technology is/can be private, therefore patentable. And im not 100% sure where this algorythm sits on.
  • 1 Hide
    pelov , April 20, 2011 1:13 AM
    Yea, ultimately whatever our opinions here are depends on just how broad or specific intel was with respect to the actual patent. Which we don't have nor tom's shared :p 

    generally speaking, corporations tend to be very very broad with patents and have a number of lawyers looking into the technicalities of it to stretch that patent as far as it can go, often time issuing patent after patent derived from the initial patent.
  • -1 Hide
    ericburnby , April 20, 2011 1:19 AM
    gerchokasOk, we clearly have different conceptions about it. I understand an ingredient(algorithm) as a factor, not a product. So (in my opinion) should not be patentable. The cake (program), on the other hand, is your product, so you should be able to get the patent.I actually have a clue about SD, since thats what i've been doing for the last few years.

    I call BS on you being in software development. Unless you call working with Visual Basic or designing web pages as SD. Nobody with a clear understanding of software would make statements such as yours. The entire software industry operates on the concept that you can really only protect the building blocks of your application (algorithms). Nobody owns a patent on a word processor or spreadsheet. Microsoft would have several patents on underlying code in Word, however.
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