Virginia Tech: Enhancing National Security By Making Intelligence Software Smarter

Virginia Tech collaboration with General Dynamics Mission Systems

Virginia Tech Computer science professor Chris North, left, is leading a collaboration with General Dynamics Mission Systems to develop the “smart” software shown in the background, which will help an intelligence analyst find important information more quickly. (Photo Credit: Virginia Tech)

General Dynamics Mission Systems is partnering with leading universities to research how emerging and disruptive technologies can help overcome national security challenges. Researchers at Virginia Tech and General Dynamics engineers are collaborating on intuitive software that could help intelligence analysts identify unexpected connections in large data sets faster.

Below is an excerpt from an article published by Virginia Tech that highlights how the software uses a graphical interface and algorithms to make intelligence data analysis easier — to read the full story, visit

Enhancing national security by making intelligence software smarter

By Eleanor Nelsen

An intelligence analyst hunting for answers in a sea of data faces steep challenges: She must choose the right search terms, identify useful results, and organize them in a way that reveals new connections.

Making that process quicker and more intuitive could yield faster answers to key national security questions, which is why a research group at Virginia Tech is collaborating with Fairfax-based defense company General Dynamics Mission Systems on intelligence software that allows analysts to interact more closely with their data.

According to Chris North, a professor of computer science in the College of Engineering and the associate director of the Discovery Analytics Center, analysts currently have to approach huge data sets with independent, consecutive searches.

“You search, and then you read. And you read and you read and you read. And then you might figure out from all that reading something else you might search for, and then you do that, and it’s a slow, painful iterative process,” North said.

North’s research group is developing software that uses a visual interface and computer learning algorithms to allow to the analyst’s interactions with the data to guide future searches.

To read the full story, visit

Source: Eleanor Nelsen,“Enhancing National Security By Making Intelligence Software Smarter,”, 9/13/2016