The Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica is announcing the establishment of Spinque. Spinque develops search technology for information specialists, combining the key advantages of databases and information retrieval. Spinque is founded by three researchers from the ‘Interactive Information Access’ research group. Spinque introduces a novel approach to search, ‘Search by Strategy’, which opens new possibilities for companies and government organizations.
Search by Strategy allows users to search through multiples sources simultaneously, irrespective of their size, and to determine easily connections between different types of information. Current search technologies, like web and enterprise search, restrict users to pre-defined “one size fits all search strategies”. Spinque offers the ability to customize any search strategy, and even to define a completely new one matching your needs. For example, intellectual property information specialists with information need to be satisfied by patents in different languages can define or adapt a search strategy, and let the Spinque technology generate a tailor-made search engine, instantaneously.
“Organisations face complex business intelligence questions”, says Arjen de Vries, co-founder and director of Spinque. “Expressing just their market segment using the right natural language utterances yields already a sizeable and thus inherently complex query. Existing technologies provide either a too generic solution (web search) or lack flexibility (enterprise search). The power of Spinque is that its main product (the Strategy Builder) supports sheer infinitely many search strategies, that can even be refined during the querying process.” says De Vries.
Data sources to be searched may vary from personal information, company information, pre-defined lists describing the competition or key people, patents and their classifications, as well as publicly available sources such as Wikipedia and web results. Searching patent collections can be done on patent-documents, persons, companies, countries, patents, and any combination thereof. Using ‘faceted browsing’ the (intermediate) results can be explored interactively. Using Search by Strategy, search is an integrated step in the information professional's work-flow.
During the recently held PatOlympics, an international competition between researchers competing interactively for locating the best search results in patent literature, Spinque retrieved more than 5 times as many relevant patents than competing systems, thereby received the highest award in the category ‘Cross-Lingual Retrieving’. De Vries explains that with more complex queries Spinque technology allows people to analyse different aspects of the search separately, and combine results of these queries - without losing results. As an example, Spinque found more relevant patents about airbags in motorcycles by first finding two sets of documents, one about airbags and one about motorcycles, and only then combining those two result sets.
The establishment of spin-off companies such as Spinque is an important instrument for CWI to transfer technology and knowledge to society and industry. Spinque continues to developsearch technology in the area of scalability, quality and stabilitywhile the commercial activities of Spinque will raise new fundamental questions which can then be addressed by CWI.