hash patent by AltNet; Python is prior art?

Robert Kern rkern at ucsd.edu
Sat Jan 15 21:12:26 CET 2005

GerritM wrote:
> ZDnet features an article about the had patent at AltNet
> http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-5534087.html . Apparantly this issue
> plays already for some time, now the p2p companies are threatened, becuase
> they use hashing to recognize files.
> As far as I know hasing is a very old technique used to quickly look up
> information. The use of hashing always requires an idnetity check, because
> the lookup is not unique (mapping a very big amount of possibilities on a
> limited amount of entries). This is a fast and robust way of finding
> information, if the right hashing function is used.

I don't know the details, but I'm willing to bet that the kind of hashes 
being disputed here are cryptographic hashes, not the kind that Python 
uses for dictionaries. I'm also willing to bet that the patent won't 
hold up in court because there's quite a lot of prior art with respect 
to cryptographic hashes, too.

Robert Kern
rkern at ucsd.edu

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
  Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
   -- Richard Harter

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