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 Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter
20.08.2018 | Rice University

nachricht Metamolds: Molding a mold
20.08.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>