by Tara Carreon
CONNECT THE DOTS
Click here to see the dragon
PROUD, ART THOU MET? THY HOPE WAS TO HAVE REACHT
THE HIGHTH OF THY ASPIRING UNOPPOS'D
THE THRONE OF GOD UNGUARDED, AND HIS SIDE
ABANDOND AT THE TERROR OF THY POWER
OR POTENT TONGUE; FOOL, NOT TO THINK HOW VAIN
AGAINST TH' OMNIPOTENT TO RISE IN ARMS
WHO OUT OF SMALLEST THINGS COULD WITHOUT END
HAVE RAIS'D INCESSANT ARMIES TO DEFEAT
THY FOLLY, OR WITH SOLITARIE HAND
REACHING BEYOND ALL LIMIT, AT ONE BLOW
UNAIDED COULD HAVE FINISHT THEE, AND WHELMD
THY LEGIONS UNDER DARKNESS; BUT THOU SEEST
ALL ARE NOT OF THY TRAIN; THERE BE WHO FAITH
PREFER, AND PIETIE TO GOD, THOUGH THEN
TO THEE NOT VISIBLE, WHEN I ALONE
SEEMD IN THY WORLD ERRONEOUS TO DISSENT
FROM ALL; MY SECT THOU SEEST, NOW LEARN TOO LATE
HOW FEW SOMTIMES MAY KNOW, WHEN THOUSANDS ERR
WHOM THE GRAND FOE WITH SCORNFUL EYE ASKANCE
THUS ANSWERD, ILL FOR THEE, BUT IN WISHT HOURE
OF MY REVENGE, FIRST SOUGHT FOR THOU RETURNST
FROM FLIGHT, SEDITIOUS ANGEL, TO RECEAVE
THY MERITED REWARD, THE FIRST ASSAY
OF THIS RIGHT HAND PROVOK'T, SINCE FIRST THAT TONGUE
INSPIR'D WITH CONTRADICTION DURST OPPOSE
A THIRD PART OF THE GODS, IN SYNOD MET
THIR DEITIES TO ASSERT, WHO WHILE THEY FEEL
VIGOUR DIVINE WITHIN THEM, CAN ALLOW
OMNIPOTENCE TO NONE.
-- MILTON, PARADISE LOST
* See "Revealing E-Mail's Secrets, by Larry Greenemeier
Tool lets analysts create a picture of communicators and can be used to
fight terrorists and help businesses
Aug. 1, 2005
With the threat of terrorism high, the intelligence
community is investing in technology that can help analysts quickly
examine communications, particularly E-mailed messages, in order to spot
suspected terrorists. Backed by In-Q-Tel, the CIA's technology incubator,
Spotfire Inc. this week will introduce a tool for uncovering patterns and
relationships in information extracted from E-mail messages that will be
as useful for anti-terrorism efforts as it will be for analyzing business
Homegrown programs and text-mining tools are available from
a variety of vendors to extract data about an E-mail and information
contained within a message. Spotfire's product, DecisionSite for Email
Analysis, goes to work on that data and presents the results in tables or
grids with different-sized splotches of color that indicate data patterns.
DecisionSite's Email Portfolio feature allows analysts to store and link
E-mail addresses and any other attributes to build a detailed picture of
communicators and their activities. E-mail messages also can be mapped
geographically using a variety of mapping technologies, including ESRI
Inc.'s ArcGIS software.
Spotfire is looking to push business intelligence and
reporting to the next level for both government agencies and commercial
businesses, CEO Christopher Ahlberg says.
In-Q-Tel first approached Spotfire in 2003 when the
CIA-backed venture-capital firm was looking to invest in technology that
could find critical patterns by translating and analyzing data.
"Unstructured information is at the core of the analysis that the
intelligence community wants to do," Ahlberg says.
Although In-Q-Tel is neither part of the CIA nor a
government agency, it does receive input from the CIA regarding where it
should invest. "We never know if the CIA uses the technology in which we
invest," says Eric Kaufmann, In-Q-Tel's managing partner and senior VP.
"They give us a general
direction, such as visualization."
Kaufmann won't say how much In-Q-Tel has invested in Spotfire, but the
firm sees the company's visualization technology as a breakthrough for
E-mail analysis. "We identified Spotfire as a leader in the visualization"
market, he says. That market is important because it's a place where
visualization hasn't yet been used. "E-mail has
become an increasing part of electronic discovery."
DecisionSite for Email Analysis has the potential to help analysts in the
government and in business confirm who's talking with each other via
E-mail and how often, says Ed Hart, an IT consultant and a former deputy
director at the National Security Agency.
The NSA is testing Spotfire's software, Hart says. The amount of data the
NSA analyzes daily would fill the Library of Congress, and that's only a
small percentage of the amount of data available to the agency. "Any tools
that can help them in that analysis process against that total percent of
available data is of enormous value because it helps the analysts be
selective," he adds.
Although Spotfire's technology is being funded in part by a CIA-backed
company and the NSA has expressed interest, DecisionSite for Email
Analysis could have a much broader appeal that extends to the business
world. "Many endeavors, whether in government or private enterprise, have
the need to analyze masses of data topical to their area," Hart says. "The
application is limited only by the creativity of the person who's trying
to apply it."
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