Data mining software used by spy agencies just got more powerful

Data mining software used by spy agencies just got more powerful

Data mining software used by spy agencies just got more powerful

The software helps "computers think like a human’s brain” to catch insiders bent on mischief, help understand threats and add value to data sets.

Christopher J. Bing is a cybersecurity reporter for FedScoop. He has written about technology and policy for DC Inno, International Policy Dig...

Data mining software used by both US intelligence agencies and large corporations just got an upgrade. 

Franklin, Tenn.-based Digital Reasoning — a cognitive computing developer that has contracts with the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, as well as the U.S. intelligence community and several allied governments — has released a new version of its software, expanding the big data analytics capabilities of several agencies. 

The name of the new platform is Synthesys 4. It adds a suite of data aggregation, correlation and organization tools, among other things. The upgraded, “lighter” version will also be easier to install, requires less memory and is more user friendly, the firm claims. Company executives expect Synthesys 4 to be more widely employed by systems integrators, like Booz Allen Hamilton, than previous versions. 

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Palantir Technologies, perhaps the most recognizable name in big data analytics, is a direct competitor to Digital Reasoning in the federal market. 

Vice President of Federal Programs Eric Hansen described his company’s technology as “cognitive computing solutions [that] help computers think like a human’s brain.” 

Hansen described that, “while computers are generally good at some tasks — like mathematical functions or finding specific terms quickly — historically they have not been able to see the big picture, with the complete context of the situation, like a human can. Digital Reasoning is helping computers merge concepts and behaviors and paint a more holistic picture to understand the contextual meaning of data.” 

Digital Reasoning is a portfolio company of In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital investment arm. 

Broadly, In-Q-Tel invests in innovative software and hardware companies that in-turn typically sell products to intelligence agencies and the U.S. defense sector. The investing group is a significant force in the U.S. intelligence community and as a result, influences the technology procurement process to some extent.

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