Autonomy Retools Search Engine to Work in Databases

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-09-16 Print this article Print

Advanced probabilistic technology for unstructured information now brings business intelligence to structured data. IDOL SPE can automatically make connections in the data that the standard search engine cannot, Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch said.

Enterprise search provider Autonomy on Sept. 16 announced it has reconfigured its frontline product, the IDOL Structured Probabilistic Engine (SPE), to bring its context-based search capabilities to work in databases.

The company, which made news in January 2009 when it acquired content management provider Interwoven for $775 million, built its reputation in the market by providing query-driven software that is able to locate specific unstructured data in file systems. As a result, Autonomy services more than 20,000 customers in a wide range of business applications.

Autonomy now is applying its same technologies to the $18 billion database market by turning legacy RDBMSs (relational database management systems) into next-generation probabilistic inference engines that can understand "shades of gray," CEO Mike Lynch told eWEEK.

IDOL SPE can automatically make connections in the data that a typical search engine cannot, Lynch said. It can analyze interactions, usage and multiple data sets to spot patterns in structured data and make non-obvious predictions, he said.

"This inference-based search engine really acts more like a human being would act on a query," Lynch said. "A common problem is that of 'matches.'

"A simple example would be: Let's say you want to find a flight from New York to San Francisco at a certain day and certain price, and the database comes back with no matches. That's because it's done the matching process but can't find any. What this new technology does is act much more like a travel agent, because of their experience with the data. It will come back and say, 'Well, we can't find New York to San Francisco, but how about New York to Oakland?"

Using advanced probabilistic algorithms, Autonomy's software represents a radical shift in the intelligence businesses can gain from information, because it has the ability to understand the meaning in the data in between the lines, Lynch said.

"Autonomy was built on one fundamental technology, IDOL, that brought meaning to human friendly information," Lynch said. "IDOL SPE is our second fundamental technology and ushers the database market into the era of meaning-based computing. Organizations are now able to free data from rigid structures to deliver relevance and understanding that can impact literally every type of computing application."

Autonomy's IDOL SPE is available now in limited release as a standalone product or as an add-on accelerator to existing database applications. Go here for more information.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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