I just learned (somewhat ironically, via a Google Alert...) that Google has just received a patent on MapReduce! I haven't yet waded through the actual patent, but I have looked at a nicely formatted copy of the first claim.
It's a patent on partitioned parallel processing.
This is bullshit! I notice that they don't reference either of these two patents:
- 6,311,265 - Apparatuses and methods for programming parallel computers
- 5,966,072 - Executing computations expressed as graphs
I'm an inventor on the first of these (filed when I was at Torrent Systems), and I know the inventors on the second (filed by our, ah, colleagues at Ab Initio). Both of these are directly relevant to Google's patent, and I would argue that the Google patent either overlaps these two or is obvious to a skilled practitioner.
Maybe Google plans to release this patent for unrestricted use. I don't care. Patents like this are an abuse of the patent system.