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Clarkson University's Milne Shines Light on Patent Information

After writing patents at IBM for more than 20 years, John Milne knows they are treasure chests of useful information, so the Clarkson University professor uses his expertise to point out the clues that will help students develop inventions.

John MilneMilne, the Neil '64 and Karen Bonke Assistant Professor in Engineering Management at the Clarkson University School of Business, also advises analytics professionals on how to hone that same recognition of information.

To help share these insights, Milne has co-written an article in Interfaces journal with University of Michigan Professor Brian Denton and Clarkson University sophomore Troy White '17, an engineering & management major from Unadilla, N.Y.

Their piece, "ASP, The Art and Science of Practice: How Analytics Practitioners Can Learn from Published Patents and Protect Their Work," is featured as the President's Pick for June on the INFORMS Connect Web site.

“INFORMS, the Institute of Operations Research and the Management Sciences, is a professional society with about 11,000 members," says Milne. "It publishes 14 refereed journals, and President Robin Keller features just one article each month. Having her select our article feels great.”

Interfaces is an INFORMS journal focusing on the practice of operations research and management science and the impact this practice has made on organizations throughout the world.

Before coming to Clarkson in 2010, Milne spent 26 years at IBM, where he became one of the company’s most celebrated engineer-inventors by applying the mathematical techniques of operations research to complex problems in supply chain management. He holds more than 40 patents. In 2005, he was designated a master inventor by IBM.

Naturally, Milne recognizes the practical information that patents contain. To research their article, he and his co-authors examined keywords relevant to descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics found in U.S. patents that were issued between 2002 and 2013. The increase is a window on analytics growth, he notes.

As their Interfaces article says: “Knowing the patenting process can be important for you and your company’s success, protecting your most valuable work. And if you want to learn about advanced analytics, the patent literature is a good place to start.”

Milne teaches his students the basics of reading patents. He and Brian Denton worked together for years at IBM so they both wanted to make this approach available to a broader audience. Interfaces provided the opportunity to do so.

Working on the article was an excellent project for Troy White of Unadilla, N.Y. The honors student in the engineering and management program at Clarkson became involved after asking to do research into business and management.

“Troy's a great student. I'm glad he wanted to do more,” Milne says.

See the paper abstract and a video with Milne at .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[A photograph for media use is available at .]

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