Our Purpose and Organizational Structure
Xalgorithms Foundation, Alliance and Working Groups
Xalgorithms Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation operating through free/libre principles and open source methods to conceptualize, design, develop and deploy a general method for the authors of computational rules to express and publish these to the Internet, and for rule users to have their various transaction systems dynamically fetch the correct rules from the Internet. Xalgorithms Foundation solves the general class of computational problem in which Agent A, interacting with Agent B, would obtain one or more externally-managed computational algorithms from Agents C..n.
Operationally, the Foundation convenes contributors to provide the functional basis for an “Internet of Rules” (IoR) reflecting the “Architectural Principles of the Internet” ( IETF RfC 1958) whereupon the network transmits independent, self-contained expressions of computational algorithms as efficiently and flexibly as possible. The Foundation’s portfolio includes the Xalgo specification for algorithm expression; the XalgoAuthor application for algorithm management; the Lichen component for transaction data exchange; the Interlibr distributed processor to associate transaction data with algorithms; and Xalgorithms Alliance to advance practical uses of these elements.
Xalgorithms Alliance is a contract-based association of participants that operates through Working Groups to enable use of an Internet of Rules to achieve the practical purposes declared in their respective charters.
Each Xalgorithms Working Group convenes business, government, academic and/or not-for-profit organizations, as well as informal civil society communities and interested individuals, to advance use of an Internet of Rules for the purposes and within the scope documented in their written charter.
An Xalgorithms Working Group commences when its charter is supported in a resolution of the Board of Xalgorithms Foundation. A charter includes the Working Group’s name; purpose and scope; governance; resourcing; and contact information. Prior to approval as a formal Xalgorithms Working Group, an informal Xalgorithms Community Group may associate under the auspices of Xalgorithms Foundation when its draft charter is supported in writing for this expressed purpose by the Executive Director of the Foundation.
Each Xalgorithms Working has its own governance process, project workplan and budget, and a project bank account under the Xalgorithms umbrella. The have autonomy to make their own arrangements for communicating, but generally three types of interaction are recommended:
- Short notification and ad hoc chat (e.g. via Twitter, IRC, or equivalent, as the group prefers)
- Online meetings (e.g via Jitsi video, LinkedIn Groups, Github Projects, Slack, TwistApp, or equivalent, as the group prefers)
- Multilateral substantive conversations (via an email lists with online archives, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org)
An annually negotiated apportionment from each Working Group is allocated to Xalgorithms Foundation to fulfill its core functions, as follows:
- Serve as the responsible technical steward of the IoR platform as described in the Xalgorithms Alliance Accession Agreement;
- Provide administrative support to Xalgorthms Alliance and to Xalgorithms Working Groups;
- Support Xalgorithms Working Groups and their members in researching and communicating potential macro-level emergent effects should their meso-level IoR intervention succeed in becoming ubiquitous at the micro-level.
The annual apportionment per Working Group can be met via memberships (e.g. the contributed value of four Strategic Implementer memberships would be equivalent to forty Experimenting Implementer memberships), or in the form of research grants, or some combination of those. All additional funds from membership and research grants are managed directly as project funds of the Working Groups themselves, albeit under the Xalgorithms umbrella. To ensure that the Foundation itself cannot compete with the members of Xalgorithms Working Groups who would be committing funds as well as substantive in-kind research and knowledge, the Foundation’s bylaws do not permit it to undertake fee-for-service work. The Foundation’s only revenues are from selling memberships, and receiving research grants.
As of June 2018 the Foundation is advancing Xalgorithms Alliance on the basis of six charters that are being drafted and discussed with sector stakeholders, to potentially establish formal Xalgorithms Working Groups:
- Xalgo4Trade (for automated inter-jurisdictional trade agreements)
- MyPayChecker / CheckerMaPaye (for automated labour agreements)
- Xalgo4Price (for dynamic pricing linked to verifiable benchmarks)
- Xalgo4Reciprocity (for data empowerment of individuals, and ‘mutual loyalty’)
- Xalgo4Industry (for dynamic control of distributed processes or systems)
- Xalgo4Assurance (for management of algorithm errors and omissions liability risk)
- Internet of Rules, IoR (for a functional, high-performance “Internet of Rules”)
Xalgorithms Foundation convenes the primary Internet of Rules (IoR) Working Group to design, produce, test, maintain and document Xalgo, XalgoAuthor, Lichen and Interlibr, and to ensure that they operate well as a loosely-coupled system to express, publish and fetch computational algorithms on the Internet.
Why Xalgorithms Was Started, and Where We Are Now
In 2015 there existed no open standard platform-agnostic way for algorithm owners to publish their rules to the Internet, and no open standard platform-agnostic way for users of commerce solutions to have those solutions fetch algorithms from the Internet.
We set out to contribute the components and protocols for this singular capability, and in particular, to create and offer it in such a way that any rules or compliance automation solution could readily integrate it, and would have a positive competitive incentive to do so. Xalgorithms places all our source code and documentation under widely-recognized free/libre/open licenses, so that everything we produce can be readily adapted and intergrated. An Internet of Rules depends on the ubiquity of its underlying components and protocols.
We felt that companies already offering rules automation and compliance services would benefit from an enormous reduction in the costs of maintaining all those external rules, such as tariffs, taxes, discounts, subsidies, fees, benchmarks, points systems, indicators, micro-payments, and others that surely will emerge with the pending arrival generalized market of algorithmic law and contracting.
Such a market that includes automated legislation and algorithmic contracting requires a practical and cheap way for computational rules to be published to, and fetched from the Internet in a standard, computationally efficient, scalable and flexible way in support of any transaction, hosted on any platform, to the requirements (and idiosyncracies) of any jurisdiction.
From the outset we felt that the data exchange component we would create should not stand on its own, rather by design it should supply only an auxiliary function. We called it “Lichen”, because lichens just grow on the sides of trees and rocks without interfering with them. These symbiotic organisms typically bring some additional color to those surfaces, but they seem reserved and minimalist.
Xalgorithms Foundation has designed its membership categories for organizations and individuals with their own interests in the advancement and good management of the elements of an “Internet of Rules” (IoR), and its application to various contexts through the Xalgorithms Alliance constituted from the several Working Groups. Members would of course compete with each other, but they would have good reason to cooperate on extending the Internet with this IoR capability.
Xalgorithms reached a viable system design by in March 2017, and began onboarding external developers in authoring Xalgo rules and testing them on the alpha implementation of Interlibr in May 2018. Now we have turned our attention to “priming the pump” and we invite your participation. Through 2019 the Foundation is developing membership through the Working Groups. Please contact us via @xalgorithms or email@example.com.