Dendronic Decisions Ltd. is a company that is pioneering a new type of
machine learning technology based on Adaptive Logic Networks (ALN). With a Canadian Defense contract
being awarded to the company in 1993, I was contracted to help with the early stages of the project.
involved outfitting an experimental jeep that had an active suspension system with a
control system based on ALN technology. The project goal was to define the performance of a ALN
controller vs. a conventional control system, and to determine what benefits ALN technology could
bring to the solving problem. Here is a picture of the actual vehicle fitted with the experimental
active suspension system.
Essentially, my work involved making a field visit to the to the Canadian Defense
facilities in south east Alberta to become familiar with the problem from a physical perspective.
While there we were treated to some of the robotic projects in progress, such as the multi-segmented
vehicle shown below.
Once the field trip was over the research began in earnest. The team consisted of the
president, who was also an professor at the University of Alberta, a colleague of his also an instructor
from the U of A, a former honours student, and myself. I became part of the team from the recommendation
of the second instructor who was my robotics professor. My robotics project employed some unique
principles, and with a background in Mechanical Engineering it was thought that I could contribute to the
group from a different perspective.
My roll was to locate as much information as possible that could possibly help with the project.
This involved reading and copying numerous research papers, articles from conferences, books on
appropriate subjects, articles from the Society of Automotive Engineers, and even the shop manual
from an Infinity Q45a automobile, which was one of the first production cars to use an active
While my contribution to this project was relatively small, I learned a lot about the
difficulties in bridging the gap between the theoretical/academic world and the commercial world.
Also the dynamics of working in a very small company was also very interesting and
rewarding experience. I also was able to see some cutting edge technologies as work in
progress, a very rare sight.