In reference to the patent application: US20150095841 and its images which are all viewable here.

What references to prior art are necessary and sufficient to counter this patent application?

The patent application Claims include (summarised):

In a composable analytics environment, a method for a user to create an application for data analysis, the method/system/ ‘a non-transitory computer readable medium storing instructions executable by a processing device’ comprising:

  • providing a graphical module repository [stored on a database] consisting of a plurality of graphical modules, wherein each graphical module of the plurality of graphical modules is configured to perform a data processing function;
  • receiving input from a user, via a user interface, indicating selection of at least one graphical module from the graphical module repository to be part of an application;
  • receiving a data set to be analyzed by the application; and
  • executing the application designed by the user;
  • publishing a result of the application and the application in the composable analytics environment, the published result and application accessible by other users having access to the composable analytics environment.

Note: one of the inventors refers explicitly in Sept-2014 to their use of Flow Based Programming (a subset of Data Flow Programming) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oaelUXh7sE

Some examples of established products (well before the priority date) that use graphical programming user interfaces to data flow based programming:

Some examples of references to surveys of prior art (these downloads are generally openly accessible):

  1. Data Flow Programming
  2. Flow Based Programming
  3. Visual Programming language
  4. 1982, Davis and Keller, Data Flow Program Graphs
  5. 1992, Hils, Data Flow Visual Programming Languages
  6. 2004, Johnston Hanna Millar, Advances in Dataflow programming languages
  7. 2011, Marttila-Kontio, Visual Data Flow Programming Languages: challenges and opportunities
  8. 2012, Sousa, Dataflow Programming Concepts Languages and Applications
  • You might also want to look at RapidMiner which has a graphical programming idiom, access to databases and the ability to deploy models (programs).
    – Eric S
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 14:41
  • Yes, RapidMiner is a good example of prior art as Rapid-I was evidently released prior to October-2013 see references here Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 12:12
  • I posted RapidMiner as an answer since comments are not necessarily permanent.
    – Eric S
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 23:38

2 Answers 2


Portion of Wikipedia article on Flow-Based Programming (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow-based_programming#History ) :

Flow-Based Programming (FBP) [referred to in the above-mentioned Sept. 2014 YouTube video] was invented by J. Paul Morrison in the early 1970s, and initially implemented in software for a Canadian bank.(http://www.fastcompany.com/3016289/how-an-arcane-coding-method-from-1970s-banking-software-could-save-the-sanity-of-web-develop )

FBP at its inception was strongly influenced by some IBM simulation languages of the period [mid to late '60s], in particular GPSS, but its roots go all the way back to Conway's seminal paper on what he called coroutines.(M.E. Conway, "Design of a separable transition-diagram compiler", Communications of the ACM, Vol. 6, No. 7, July 1963)

FBP has undergone a number of name changes over the years: the original implementation was called AMPS (Advanced Modular Processing System). One large application in Canada went live in 1975... Because IBM considered the ideas behind FBP "too much like a law of nature" to be patentable they instead put the basic concepts of FBP into the public domain, by means of a Technical Disclosure Bulletin, "Data Responsive Modular, Interleaved Task Programming System", (IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin, Vol. 13, No. 8, 2425-2426, January 1971). An article describing its concepts and experience using it was published in 1978 in the ... IBM Systems Journal under the name DSLM.(J. Paul Morrison, "Data Stream Linkage Mechanism", IBM Systems Journal Vol. 17, No. 4, 1978).

Generally the concepts were referred to within IBM as "Data Flow", but this term was felt to be too general, and eventually the name Flow-Based Programming was adopted.

Parenthetical note: in the claim, the term "graphical module" is used. FBP has always been visual and graphical, but in the early days, we did not have graphical software powerful enough to enable diagrams to be drawn on computers, so we used (very) large sheets of paper, and managed the diagrams using pencil and eraser!

In fact the term "graphical module" is misleading: an FBP network is a network of asynchronous processes, which can be represented graphically to improve comprehension and maintainability. There is nothing inherently graphical about the modules (code executed by individual processes). This is true of all systems derived from FBP or similar to it. The network can perfectly well be coded by hand, as it is basically just a list of connections.

The term "graphical module repository" is more defensible if the term "graphical" is taken as describing the repository rather than the modules...


RapidMiner has a graphical programming idiom, access to databases and the ability to deploy models. According to Wikipedia it dates back to 2001. I've used it and it seem to have all of the characteristics you describe in the application.

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