Raytheon BBN Technologies has been awarded $16 million under the Deep Exploration and Filter of Text (DEFT) program, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. BBN Technologies is a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon Co.

Government analysts collect and process huge amounts of data from a variety of sources to create and assess plans and to execute missions. Advances in speech and language technologies have provided them with robust tools for their tasks, but discovering information that is implied but not explicitly stated remains a challenge. The DEFT program aims to enhance currently available analytical tools by developing a deep natural language exploration and filtering capability to find operationally significant information and deliver relevant alerts to users.

"Much of the information that our analysts need is couched in ambiguous language. The DEFT program aims to strip away that ambiguity and also to make it easier to integrate new facts into our existing knowledge bases in a meaningful way," said Prem Natarajan, executive vice president of Speech, Language & Multimedia for Raytheon BBN Technologies.

Drawing on decades of experience in speech and language technologies, Raytheon BBN scientists will tackle two significant goals of the DEFT program: to develop new techniques to infer meaning, discover relationships, and detect anomalies in text; and to research and develop tools to integrate new, individual facts into existing large information stores. The enhanced understanding enabled by these capabilities will allow analysts and other users to effectively exploit not just the surface information in massive data archives, but also to discover the rich interconnections between disparate data elements and the tactically and strategically significant nuances.