Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Grid helps find one picture in a million

07.08.2007
Looking for images on the internet can be a frustrating business. Whether you want the perfect sunset over the sea or the London skyline by night, you’re dependent on people to describe the images on their web pages.

Now Imense Ltd, a high-tech Cambridge start-up, has announced new investment to help them become the ‘Google’ of image searching, using their revolutionary technology. To test their software, they’ve made an unexpected partnership with a group of particle physicists using a massive computer Grid.

Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) describes how this happened “We actively encourage the researchers we fund to consider the wider applications of the work they do. In this case, computing problems that had to be addressed for particle physics can also be used to solve other challenges with large amounts of data. The Council’s Knowledge Exchange Service put the two teams together and provided modest funding to start them off – the new investment attracted by Imense represents a ten-fold return on the initial development funds.”

Images and video make up over 70% of the digital data available on the Internet, an estimated 15 billion images, but traditional search engines can’t index this information directly, instead relying on text descriptions entered by hand. Imense’s key innovation is a new form of image retrieval that automatically analyses images in terms of their content, without the need for human generated captions. They have also developed a powerful query language that lets people search for the images they need.

Dr David Sinclair, one of the founders of Imense Ltd, explains, “We built a prototype of our new image analysis and search technology, but simply weren’t able to test our software on sufficiently large numbers of photos. We knew we could search tens of thousands of pictures, but couldn't afford to try it on hundreds of thousands or millions of images. This made it difficult for Imense to get the investment we needed to develop a commercially viable product. That’s where our partnership with the particle physics Grid came in.”

Spread across 17 sites, the UK particle physics Grid (GridPP) has been built to analyse the petabytes of data expected from Europe’s newest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. But its 8000 computers have also been shared with other researchers, from geophysicists to biologists. Last year, Sinclair attended a meeting arranged by STFC about Grid opportunities for industry, and realized that Grid technology could be the answer to Imense’s problem. Image analysis is a naturally parallel process which fits perfectly with the capabilities of the Grid used by STFC scientists to process data in particle physics.

Professor Andy Parker, Director of the eScience Centre, University of Cambridge, led the particle physics team working with Imense, “Our team helped Imense develop their software to run on the Grid using a tool called Ganga, and supported them as they analysed three million images. We also dealt with issues such as security and working with Grid managers at other universities, who were very helpful. It went very smoothly and was fascinating to see the company start-up process in action.”

Imense have now reaped the rewards of their Grid experience, with an investment of more than £500,000 to help them bring a product or service to market in the coming months. Dr Sinclair says that the Grid played a major role in this, “Our work with the Grid has let us demonstrate that our software can handle millions of images, at a time when we were a small company and couldn’t supply the computing power needed ourselves. This in turn impressed the investors we spoke to, and led to funding for our company.” Imense plans to use the open source Grid technologies from the particle physics domain in its commercial product.

Alex Efimov led the brokering work for STFC’s Knowledge Exchange Service and companies wishing to know more should contact him on the number below.

Julia Maddock | alfa
Further information:
http://www.stfc.ac.uk

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Smart Manual Workstations Deliver More Flexible Production
04.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>