Information Economy Meta Language

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"In 2020, IEML is the only language that has the following three properties:

  • it has the expressive power of a natural language;
  • it has the syntax of a regular language;
  • its semantics is unambiguous and computable, because it is aligned with its syntax.

In other words, it is a “well-formed symbolic system”, which comprises a bijection between a set of relations between signifieds, or meanings (a language) and a set of relations between signifiers (an algebra) and which can be manipulated by a set of symmetrical and automatic operations.

On the basis of these properties, IEML can be used as a concept coding system that solves the problem of semantic interoperability in an original way, lays the foundations for a new generation of artificial intelligence and allows collective intelligence to be reflexive.


IEML provides the coordinate system of a common knowledge base that feeds both automatic reasoning and statistical calculations. In sum, IEML fulfills the promise of the Semantic Web through its computable meaning and interoperable ontologies. IEML’s grammar consists of four layers: elements, words, sentences and texts. Examples of elements and words can be found at"

An older, but still accurate, description

"Ieml (Information Economy Meta Language) is an artificial language designed to be simultaneously: a) optimally manipulable by computers; and b) capable of expressing the semantic and pragmatic nuances of natural languages. The design of ieml responds to three interdependent problems: the semantic addressing of cyberspace data; the coordination of research in the humanities and social sciences; and the distributed governance of collective intelligence in the service of human development. Indeed, the semantic addressing of oceans of digital documents and the coordination of the social sciences find their full meaning only as a function of the ultimate goal of ieml, which is to contribute to the well-informed governance of human development."



Pierre Levy:

"Starting in the late 1970s, I began to anticipate that computers would become the medium of intellectual technologies, technologies that would profoundly transform and expand our ways of thinking and communicating. My early background was in philosophy, history and, more generally, in the humanities, which I studied in Paris from 1975 to 1985. I especially felt the influence of the French historical and anthropological schools, just as surely as I was marked by the philosophical excitement bubbling through Paris in the 1970s and 1980s. Still, this did not keep me from quenching my thirst at other sources as well (positivist, analytical, Anglo-Saxon, Oriental, etc.). In parallel explorations, I took an interest in the beginnings of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as the connections between information theory, the cognitive sciences, and biology. I studied the Macy Conferences, read the works of Turing, Shannon, Wiener, von Neumann, McCulloch and von Foerster. I retraced the path blazed by the pioneers of augmented intelligence - Douglas Engelbart, Joseph Licklidder, Theodore Nelson. I was a passionate observer of the birth of personal computing and the Internet. In 1990, three years after the Web went public thanks to the genius of Tim Berners Lee, I published a book entitled Les Technologies de l’intelligence (Intelligence Technologies), which analyzed the philosophical and cultural meaning of the convergence of networks of computers with hypertextual networks. My work on the hypothesis of a dynamic ideography, published in 1991 as Idéographie Dynamique and the invention, together with Michel Authier, of a computerized system for the visualization of collective dynamics of knowledge (Trees of Knowledge, or Les Arbres de connaissances, 1992) bear witness to the fundamental intuitions that would eventually lead to the formation of ieml. By the late 1980s, I was convinced that, in order to take best advantage of the unprecedented possibilities made available by cyberspace for the manipulation of symbols, we needed an intellectual technology that hypertextually links all possible concepts within a calculable network - yet without granting any particular privilege to any of them. In other words, we needed to extend the form “P2P” (which, although not common knowledge at the time, was nonetheless implicit in the structure of the Internet and hypertexts) to include the relationships between concepts. In order to retain this neutrality and equality of design, the generative motor for the new digitally-based thought instrument could be nothing other than the logical analysis of meaning itself. That way, no concept could be excluded or marginalized. It was an article by François Rastier that put me on the path of the semiotic triad (sign S, being B , thing T) as the possible foundation of the metalanguage to come. My subsequent work on collective intelligence (L’intelligence Collective, 1994) and the virtual (Qu’est-ce que le virtuel?, 1995) helped me refine my initial hypotheses and add complexity to the semiotic triad, with the pragmatic dyad (virtual U, actual A). Yet it was not until I was awarded a Canada Research Chair at the University of Ottawa that I was able, from 2002 to 2006, to dedicate my full-time efforts to detailed plans and the formation of ieml. The site will publish the various successive and augmented versions of the metalanguage. It will also offer open source downloads that make use of ieml, and publish reports and scientific studies on its use. In time, a community of developers and users could organize their efforts, and pool their various suitable means of collaboration (wikis, real-time P2P data-sharing, etc.). For now, at the time of its inauguration in May 2006, the ieml language exists only as a core structure. And while its dictionary does make it possible, even now, to describe a broad range of ideas and phenomena, it remains limited to a few hundred lexical units. The editing and automatic indexing tools for using the dictionary are in the prototype or planning stages. So, for the time being, ieml remains a scientific research project. Its growth and future success will depend on the commitment and collaboration of many partners: public and private research laboratories, governments, international agencies, and user companies and communities. In the next section, I will expand on the reasons that led me to design ieml, after which - in the third section of this document - I will describe in greater detail the fundamental structure first outlined in the introduction."


More Information

  1. IEML Grammar, short version:
  2. Python implementation:
  3. IEML dictionary:
  4. INTLEKT online editor:

Previous website, accessible via Internet Archive Wayback Machine: