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United States Patent [w]
Nochur et al.
US005835758A [ii] Patent Number: 5,835,758  Date of Patent: Nov. 10, 1998
 METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR
PHYSICAL AND CONCEPTUAL ENTITIES
 Inventors: Kumar S. Nochur; Jaikumar V.
Nihalani, both of Cambridge, Mass.
 Assignee: Vidya Technologies, Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
 Appl. No.: 395,866
 Filed: Feb. 28, 1995
 Int. CI.6 G06F 17/30
 U.S. CI 395/613
 Field of Search 395/600, 613
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Primary Examiner—-Wayne Amsbury
A computer-based method and system is described for representing, storing, analyzing, processing, and communicating conceptual and physical entities. On a computer display screen, means are presented for users to create a palette of elements to define and describe entities and matters of interest to them. With a palette that they create, or with a previously defined palette, users create computerbased maps containing specific instances, called items, of one or more elements in the palette. Users can link items with line segments, arrows, or other connectors to show the relationships between them. Data, visual, and other attributes may also be defined for the links between items, the maps on which the items and links are defined, and case folders which index the maps and other associated computer-based documents and objects. Associations and connections can be established between a map, or the items or links on it, and other maps and other computer-based documents or objects such as spreadsheets, word processor files, graphical objects, audio objects, and video objects. Rules, heuristics, and norms may be specified for the palette elements, based on which maps may be parsed to see if they are correct, consistent, and complete with regard to the items they contain and the relationships indicated by the links between them. Queries can be made and reports can be generated based on the data and other attributes defined for the items, links, maps, and cases. Items, links, maps, cases, and other computer-based documents and objects can be shared among various users on a computer network. Details regarding actions or responses relating to items, links, maps, cases, and other computer-based documents and objects can be maintained in computer-based organizers, and computer messages can be generated to remind or alert users about their status and the actions to be taken relating to them. A particular embodiment of the present invention that is described here in detail pertains to the domain of purposeful human activities, inter alia goal-setting, problem-solving, decision-making, planning, and action-implementation in individual, group, and organizational settings.
19 Claims, 10 Drawing Sheets
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