When you make a can opener, you know that it will be used pretty much only for opening cans.
Unlike the can opener, the computer was not originally a task-oriented project. It was obvious
what some of its applications would be, but it was equally obvious that the possibilities were
immense and unforeseeable.
The same can be said today about computer linguistic technology. Task-directed offshoots of
this emerging technology are becoming visible, but its full force will only manifest itself with
time and maturity. The results of this process will determine the flow of the information revolution
and affect the nature of our thinking.
Circle was started in early 1985 at MIT by Margaret Magnus, Sasha Nizhnikov, and Haj (John Robert)
Ross. At that time, we released the first version of our linguistically-based hyphenation program,
In late 1985, Manhattan Graphics asked if we would write Ready,Set,Go! under
their direction. Dashes 3.0, the first version of our spelling checker, PassWord,
and Ready,Set,Go! 3 were all released in November of 1986. We released
Ready,Set,Go! 4 in August of 1987. Since then we have internationalized our linguistic
software, and developed on a new series of linguistics products.
How we are
Circle is now primarily involved in helping to develop this technology. We see languages not as things
possessions to acquire but as processes, alternative environments for our mind. We are trying to understand
what it is to be a creature that is aware of itself, that gives meanings to things... that tells stories.
We then use what we learn to build useful technologies.
We decided from the beginning to operate autonomously and without debt, even if that implied slower growth,
and to stay small enough that we could fit everyone in our living room. So far, this policy has been successful
in that it has left us independent, efficient, and financially stable and quite flexible.