What say you? In-Q-Tel wants to know about it

What say you? In-Q-Tel wants to know about it

The CIA's venture capital arm has teamed up with a search-engine company to develop a multilanguage system for intelligence gathering.

In-Q-Tel Inc. of Arlington, Va., and Northern Light Technology LLC of Cambridge, Mass., are designing an engine to crawl targeted Web sites and extract information into a database, said David Seuss, Northern Light's chief executive officer.

Northern Light has been customizing search and content-integration tools for about six years, using subject classification, indexing, searching and relevance ranking.

Customers define the data sets they are interested in, and as long as they have a legal right to that information, the company will create custom algorithms to search it out.

Northern Light uses so-called double-byte font technology to accommodate Asian and Arabic languages, Seuss said. Many such languages take up 2 bytes per character instead of 1 byte as in English.

'We're capable of searching any language on the planet,' Seuss said, although the deal doesn't specify the number of different languages on the pages that In-Q-Tel wants searched.

Northern Lights will host the service on its servers running the Compaq OpenVMS and Sun Solaris operating systems. In-Q-Tel will download the results through a private-access application programming interface.

Gayle von Eckartsberg, In-Q-Tel's vice president for communications, said the CIA-funded technology incubator has a special focus on data search and mining techniques. In-Q-Tel has relationships with many different companies because all their search technologies are a little different, von Eckartsberg said.

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