PROFILE-Autonomy applies 18th century theory to shape data

Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:49pm EST
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* Autonomy software structures messy world of information

* Group rode wave of information explosion

* Client list includes government, major companies

* 18th century scholar focused on probability of potential outcomes

By Chris Wickham

LONDON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Autonomy, a British software group at the heart of an accounting storm with owner Hewlett-Packard, applies theory from the 18th century to extract meaning and value from a modern world swamped with unstructured information and data.

Its founder Michael Lynch, 47, and a former student of mathematical computing at Cambridge University, developed a system to impose order on information from the chaotic avalanches of emails, audio, video and social media.

The software provided by Autonomy, which lists clients ranging from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and NASA to Boeing and the BBC, aims to deliver strategic, commercial and security advantage to its customers.

"About 90 percent of all data is unstructured," Alan Woodward, a visiting professor of computing at the University of Surrey, told Reuters. "Autonomy was one of the first companies to come up with a way to search that unstructured data in an intelligent way."   Continued...