Feeds

Texas profs use AI news-ware to ID terror groups

Pundit-in-a-box tech beats spooks, claim developers

Boost IT visibility and business value

American computer academics say they have created an artificial-intelligence-based computer program which can scan news reports to swiftly identify which terrorist group is behind an outrage. They claim the "open source intelligence"* scanner gave good results in the wake of last year's Mumbai attack.

"Our group has written software in the highly flexible Python programming language that allows us to ask who might be the responsible party for a terrorist incident using a certain set of parameters, such as weaponry employed, choice of target and tactics," says Christopher Bronk, who is "Fellow in Technology, Society and Public Policy" at Rice Uni in Texas.

According to the Rice coders, their terrorist-snifferware uses "the latest techniques from artificial intelligence". It trawls through a mighty database of news reports compiled by the Institute for the Study of Violent Groups (ISVG) at Sam Houston State University.

It seems that as the Mumbai outrages unfolded last year, Rice undergrad Sean Graham began feeding news reports into the mighty program. In a trice, seemingly, it had ID'd the radical group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba as the most likely suspect - as fast or faster than the world's intelligence agencies were able to.

"We designed the software to better assign attribution in terror attacks, and it appears to have worked," said Bronk, a former diplomat and leading light of the US State Department Office of eDiplomacy.

"It allowed us to match signatures and say, with some confidence, what groups had the requisite experience, resources and coordinating factors to pull off the Mumbai attacks."

Bronk collaborated with politics prof Richard Stoll, computing boffin Devika Subramanian and some students to produce the code. His thoughts on the initiative can be read here. ®

Bootnote

*This isn't the IT usage of "open source". Spies and intel wonks like to refer to stuff anyone can access - eg internet news reports - as "open source intelligence", as opposed to classified stuff produced by organisations like the CIA, MI6/SIS, military intelligence etc.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
(Not so) Instagram now: Time-shifting Hyperlapse iPhone tool unleashed
Photos app now able to shoot fast-moving videos
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.