The first idea of a language designed to improve human collective intelligence in a digital world is expressed in Pierre Levy’s book Collective Intelligence (first published in French in 1994).

The Canada Research Chair in Collective Intelligence, 2002-2016

From 2002 to 2016, the development of IEML (the Information Economy MetaLanguage) has been funded by the Canada Research Chairs Program and the SSHRC (the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada). Over the years, several people have participated in the project. The first implementation of IEML benefited from the expertise of Pierre Lévy’s colleagues, Prof. Abeb El Saddik and Prof. Emil Petriu from the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Ottawa. Later, Michel Biezunski and Steve Newcomb, both PhD’s and inventors of TopicMaps, joined the team to program the first version of IEML’s parser and dictionary, introducing Pierre Lévy to the complexities of parsing, automatic hyperlinking and data format standards. Shortly after the release of the first stable version of IEML’s parser and dictionary in 2009, Pierre Lévy published The Semantic Sphere I, Computation, cognition, and information economy (2011) that defines the scientific and philosophical considerations leading to the invention of the metalanguage. In 2010, Andrew Roczniak, PhD, brought his knowledge of algebra, automata theory, regular languages, graph theory to refine IEML. While he implemented a second version of IEML’s parser and dictionary, he supported Pierre Lévy in writing IEML Grammar, published in 2015 (In French: PDF online. In English, PDF Online.). This first formal description of IEML includes a proof of computability of the semantic relationships internal to the metalanguage.


Pierre Lévy wishes to thank the Canada Research Chairs Program and the SSHRC for giving him the opportunity to develop his vision over a decade and a half.

Lastly, a very special thanks goes to Pierre Lévy’s partner, Darcia Labrosse, who has acted over the years as artistic director, designer, project manager and as editor for his books both in French and English. Without her support, ideas and contribution, IEML might never have seen the light of day.

The Prototype, 2016-2019

In 2016-2018, the IEML prototype team was confronted with questions of usability and development processes. Candide Kemmler introduced teamwork methods, APIs, servers and deployments. The prototype has also benefited from the know-how and input from Hadrien Titeux, Alice Ribaucourt, Ludovic Carré and Vincent Lefoulon, students from the renown engineering school ENSIMAG in France. Zacharia Soliman, Eng. M.Sc. from the University of Montréal has also contributed. The front end has been under the direction of Eric Waldman, Eng. who used his own framework, implemented around the Model View Controller architectural pattern.

From 2016 to 2022, the prototype has been developed under the leadership of Louis van Beurden, Eng. who had a major impact on the design and programming of the IEML editor prototype.

Since 2019, IEML’s development has benefited from the volunteer contributions of Vincent Letard, Ph.D. in AI (specialist in automatic reasoning and ML practitioner) and David Alfonso (computational linguist, ontologist, ML practitioner).

INTLEKT Metadata Inc., 2020-23

INTLEKT Metadata has been incorporated in November 2020.

Intellectual Property

Pierre Lévy has regained the total intellectual property of IEML after leaving the University of Ottawa in 2014. This intellectual property has been transferred to INTLEKT Metadata in 2020.

Incubator, 2021

In the Winter of 2021, INTLEKT Metadata has been coached by District 3, one of the best start-up incubator in Montréal.

The last version of the IEML editor, 2022

The last version of the IEML editor – with the complete dictionary, a parser programmed in C++, and tools to visualize paradigms in the form of tables – has been programmed by Louis van Beurden (back-end) and Thibault Friedrich (front-end).

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