Feeds

DARPA's video search push gets another $11m

Not content with giving Google just one business model

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Pentagon R&D chiefs at DARPA have awarded $11m to discover a technical secret for which, one may be sure, Google executives would pay a substantially larger sum - that of true video search.

Google would like to make video searching work as well as text searching does, the better to serve ads alongside the ensuing results and as a way of making its huge pile of video gumble at YouTube more useful and hence more valuable. But the problems of sifting the odd decent/useful vid out from among endless footage of comical cats, doleful teenagers in their bedrooms etc are as nothing compared to those of the US Defense Department.

The US military (and intelligence community) have been generating video archives over the past decade which make YouTube look like a home video collection. Mere HD movies and TV are small and tightly compressed compared to the high resolution, full-motion imagery which pours in such mighty streams from every Predator or Reaper roboplane: and dozens of these are airborne above southwest Asia every minute of every day.

Often, all these mountains of super-quality video (often featuring mountains, appropriately enough) are seen just once, briefly, by the pilot and sensor operator handling a given drone via satcomms from Nevada. In future, as the machines become more automated, large amounts of perhaps useful video will never be seen by human eyes at all: there is simply too much to assign intelligence analysts to watch it all in the hope of catching something significant.

DARPA says:

Currently, video analysis for Predator and other aerial video surveillance platforms is very labor intensive, and limited to metadata queries, manual annotations, and “fastforward” examination of clips.

Or in other words the US military has bitten off more video than it can chew here. DARPA's solution, of course, is basically to invent a tremendous, powerful pair of robotic chewing jaws with steely automatic teeth. Rather than VID-CHOMP*, for some reason, DARPA has chosen to dub the project Video and Image Retrieval and Analysis Tool (VIRAT):

The software tools developed under VIRAT will radically improve the analysis of huge volumes of video data by: 1) alerting operators when specific events or activities occur at specific locations or over a range of locations and; 2) enabling fast, content-based searches of existing video archives.

VIRAT has been underway since 2008, and there have been previous awards: but on August 27 the Pentagon notified that New York firm Kitware Inc had received a $10,962,069 add-on to a previous cost-plus deal - indicating that DARPA feel worthwhile progress is being made.

Just as DARPA gave birth to the internet and thus to Google's original business model, so it seems that the military boffins may in time build the search colossus a new one.

Watch this space, etc. ®

*Video Intelligence Data - Computing for Human Observation Minimisation Programme

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.