R1 and Beyond: AI Technology Transfer at Digital Equipment Corporation

  • Stephen Polit


This article describes one person's experience in coming from an academic environment to work at Digital Equipment Corporation. The author feels his own experience has paralleled the transfer of AI technology from academia to industry, where AI researchers must live up to very different expectations, but also enjoy very different rewards. This article covers the historical background of DEC's involvement with AI, the development of R1- known internally and henceforth in this article as XCON-and DEC's experiences with it and its consequences. Finally, the article offers advice for other corporations planning to develop their own capabilities in AI.