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April 4, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:04pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Autonomy Systems Plc is taking both the leg and brain work out of trawling the Net for information with the launch of its first range of corporate server-based intelligent agents, AgentWare i3. Based in Cambridge, UK and Palo Alto, California, the company, which was spun off from UK-based neural networks pioneer Cambridge Neurodynamics Ltd last June (CI No 2,987), says AgentWare i3 offers corporate users the equivalent of having a personal secretary to monitor all the information available on the both the Internet and intranet and present accurately filtered information tailored to their personal requirements. The first product in the range is the Personalized Content Push Server, an intelligent engine designed for corporate intranets, which covertly observes what a user is reading, and learns about areas of interest. It then creates an agent which will go and read and assess other content, and instantly provide recommendations of related content and topics around the subject. It also operates in overt mode, and responds to queries written in plain English. A user can train and send off as many agents as required. For example, a company monitoring the competition might have one agent per competitor.

Neural networks

The technology underlying AgentWare is a linear weight neural network. The neural network learns as it goes along, so the accuracy of the agents should improve over time. The Personalized Content Push server will be formally launched on April 15, but the product has already been sold to selected customers under the company’s ‘Head Start’ program. One of these is Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and British Telecommunications Plc’s joint venture online service, Line One, due to launch on April 22. Line One will enable individuals to get information from News Corp’s including the Times and the Sun, as well as from the group’s Sky satellite television. The service aims to have 5 million subscribers, and 10Gb of data, and Autonomy says AgentWare i3 is infinitely scaleable. The software will also automatically build up a profile of each user, enabling a company to learn about its users and target advertising and promotions specifically to them. It also alerts the user if someone else on the network is interested in the same topics, and enable them to make contact. Other products in the range, which are due to roll out between now and the end of the year, include DailyMe, an overnight service which selects a number of important items of personal interest to the user according to the profile learned by the agent. News Alert is a real-time monitor which will trawl the Net in the background and alert the user by electronic mail, or even by phoning a mobile phone, and Guardian Server sit s on a server with an Internet gateway, with agents trained in subjects to block, such as pornography, job pages, or any sensitive material. Dr Mike Lynch, founder and managing director of Autonomy says other companies have produced agents that roam the Net, but he believes Autonomy’s product is the first to really have the brain power to intelligently select the relevant information. The company, which raised 30m pounds at the time of its spin-off last year, plans to float on Nasdaq at the end of this year or early next.

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