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A Logical Move

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Tom Keeley ’68 seeks to change the future with his Knowledge Enhanced Electronic Logic (KEEL), which allows electronic devices and software applications to use human-like reasoning and judgment. This system helps users automate many tasks, serving to reduce costs and human errors while speeding up the decision-making process. He started a company, Compsim, to market and develop KEEL technology after spending more than 30 years working for large corporations. Keeley has given presentations about KEEL technology nationally and internationally, and it has been used in military, medical, automotive, gaming and other applications. Photo-illustration courtesy Tom Keeley ’68.

When Tom Keeley ’68 graduated from Bradley, desktop and portable computers were still years away, Bill Gates was in junior high school, and the idea of a computer small enough to fit in a hand was in the realm of fantasy.

After working 34 years for large corporations General Electric and Rockwell, the electronics technology major established Compsim in 1999. “I started Compsim to sell a software tool that collects and organizes information to make the soft business decisions, such as setting priorities and allocating resources, that organizations face all the time,” he said. “The initial feedback was that if the software was so good, why didn’t it actually make the business decisions, such as vendor selections or new product features.”

He studied the information being collected and then patented a way to value that data and create explainable business decisions. That simple reasoning model caused him to redefine Compsim’s business objectives and Knowledge Enhanced Electronic Logic (KEEL®) technology was born. Providing a new way to incorporate human-like reasoning and judgment into electronic devices and software applications, KEEL enables users to automate many tasks that previously required humans in the loop. The technology’s benefits include reducing human errors, keeping people safe, and accelerating the decision-making process.

“Most of our focus is directed toward military and medical applications,” Keeley reported. “We are pursuing organizations that have the leadership, desire, and capabilities to change the world.”

While applicable to a variety of situations, Keeley noted that the major challenge with KEEL is marketing change. Many companies and individuals only want change if there is no risk. Because KEEL provides a new method for processing information, some have been skeptical about it. He added that when Compsim tests applications in new fields, there is a learning curve: “We have to learn a new vocabulary to understand the issues. This has, however, given us the opportunity to work with interesting people on really interesting problems: medical, nuclear, industrial, military, power, transportation, financial, political and gaming.”

In January, Keeley presented KEEL technology at the NATO-sponsored Multinational Capability Development Campaign on Autonomous Systems. Compsim was honored in May 2013 as a “Cool Vendor in Business Process Management” by technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc.

“Starting a new company with the potential to change the world is a challenge,” observed Keeley, who lives with his wife and Compsim partner, Helena, in Brookfield, Wisconsin. “No 40-hour weeks, no vacations. But for those with stamina, it is the way to go.” 

— Bob Grimson ’81