CMU Artificial Intelligence Repository
DENDRAL and CONGEN: Molecular Structure Elucidation in
The DENDRAL Project was an application of computer science to the
problem of molecular structure elucidation in organic chemistry: the
determination of the topological structure of organic compounds from
indirect observations of these compounds with the empirical procedures
of modern chemistry such as mass spectrometry. This problem is
important because the chemical and physical properties of compounds
are determined not just by their constituent atoms, but by the
arrangement of these atoms as well.
"DENDRAL" is the name of the research project, which was conducted at
Stanford University from 1965-1980, under Joshua Lederberg, Edward
Feigenbaum, Bruce Buchanan, and Carl Djerassi as principal
investigators. "DENDRAL" is also the name of the programs produced by
the project. DENDRAL originally stood for DENDRitic ALgorithm, a
procedure for exhaustively and nonredundantly enumerating all the
topologically distinct arrangements of any given set of atoms,
consistent with the rules of chemical valence.
The CONGEN program, the CONstrained GENerator, is one of the most
important programs resulting from this research and embodies the
general (acyclic and cyclic) generation algorithm in a system that
allows a chemist to constrain its enumeration in a variety of ways.
CONGEN is written in BCPL and is being made available to interested
researchers as is, without any warranty or support.
CD-ROM: Prime Time Freeware for AI, Issue 1-1
Authors!Buchanan, Authors!Feigenbaum, Authors!Lederberg,
Authors!Lindsay, BCPL!Code, CONGEN, Chemical Reasoning,
DENDRAL, Molecular Structure, Organic Chemistry,
Robert K. Lindsay, Bruce G. Buchanan, Edward A. Feigenbaum, and Joshua
Lederberg, "APPLICATIONS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR ORGANIC
CHEMISTRY: The DENDRAL Project", McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1980.
Last Web update on Mon Feb 13 10:27:47 1995