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Finding the Needle in the Haystack, Instantly

By Northeastern ­niversity

December 22, 2010

Researchers from Northeastern University, the University of Virginia, and Advanced Micro Devices have developed supercomputing hardware and software technology for conducting superfast searches. The researcher say that making use of graphics processing units (GPUs), the application can find a match for a photo in an image database 10 to 15 times faster than traditional computing methods.

"GPU technology will have huge implications for the intelligence community," says Northeastern professor David Kaeli. For example, the GPU-based technology could help determine exactly where a bomb has been planted along a gas line in a residential neighborhood. Law enforcement officials would be able to upload photos emailed by a terrorist, and the application would compare them to images in an image database until it finds a match.

"Pinpointing certain people or places needs to be done quickly," notes Northeastern's Perhaad Mistry. The researchers plan to open source the application in the near future.

From Northeastern University
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