Thursday, April 17, 2008

Electronic Sherlock Holmes under development

Neo-Moriarties look out: the University of Washington will lead a multi-institutional group pushing the limits of computers' ability to interpret data and ultimately predict the behavior of complex systems. "A complex monitoring system has far too many pieces of information for any one person to look at," said principal investigator Pedro Domingos, a UW associate professor of computer science and engineering.

The basic approach is the same as that of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes: using the powers of reasoning to discover the best explanation for a set of clues. But today's reasoning can't be done by a single, pipe-smoking sleuth. The modern military has millions of possible clues, including sensors on soldiers, satellite maps, road monitors, aerial drones and written observations from reconnaissance missions. The Army Research Office that provided the grant wants to make sense of this information in order to make decisions and predict an adversary's next moves. About the designer

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