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Sean Colbath

BBN researcher Sean Colbath

Credit: David Talbot

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently collaborated with Raytheon BBN researchers to develop a system that can follow global news events and provide intelligence analysts with useful summaries in close to real time.

The system gathers information from 40 news Web sites written in English, Chinese, and Arabic, and it will eventually include hundreds of news sites in all major languages, as well as links to an existing TV broadcast monitoring system. The BBN system captures everything that appears on news sites and constantly and automatically adds information, says BBN researcher Sean Colbath. The system starts by detecting a name or organization and then it identifies other entities that are connected to it, as well as statements made by and about the subject. "Here the machine has learned, by being given examples, how to put these relationships together and fill in those slots for you," Colbath says.

The technology incorporates recent improvements in machine learning, enabling it to do a better job of understanding when the same underlying event is described in different ways, says DARPA's Bonnie Dorr.

From Technology Review 
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