A couple of weeks ago, Dow Jones & Co raised an eyebrow or two when it announced that it planned to spend a lofty $5m on two of the revolutionary massively parallel Connection Machine from Thinking Machines Inc, Cambridge, Massachusetts (CI No 788). Whatever did it want them for? The Newsbytes news-wire has the answer. It seems Dow Jones Information Services Group in Princeton, New Jersey, is working on a new service that will be part of Dow Jones News/Retrieval. The new service is intended to combine the ease of use of the Dow Jones News Service, which is driven by corporate stock symbols, with the power of the Dow Jones Text Retrieval Service, which allows keyword searches of a database of major publications going back to 1979. Aiming at corporate executives, Dow Jones hopes the to develop the new service to the point where it will accept for English-like queries. Maybe a user will be able to say to the computer, ‘Tell me everything you can find about Iran and oil company stocks,’ hopes Tim Turner, director of marketing. Why is such an approach necessary? Currently, Turner explains, text retrieval users tend to be corporate librarians, who know how to keyword searches with the correct computer syntax. But the vast majority of users of the Dow viewdata service access share price and company news information using stock symbols as the key. Although, Turner expects, the new service will likely offer databases that are not as extensive or deep as in text retrieval, they will go deeper than does the present news service. He is hoping to have the new viewdata service up and running in a year – and the aim is to use the parallel processing Connection Machines to search the database at high speed.
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