the Pipeline

Six degrees of intelligence information

A U-Haul truck is not a bad thing and neither is fertilizer -- unless you discover the two are connected via shady characters who are hatching bombing plots.

But how can you quickly discover such a connection? Even if you have databases storing all the needed information, it can be difficult to put it all together.

That's why Cogito has released its new Knowledge Center product, which features a graph database that visually depicts relationships. A graph is comprised of nodes -- small circles representing data such as people and objects -- and arcs, which are lines connecting the nodes and representing relationships between them.

Cogito does not intend for the product to replace existing databases. Instead, it complements a primary database record manager such as Oracle databases, IBM's DB2 and Microsoft's SQL Server and MySQL.

Those databases are good for maintaining and understanding the attributes of information, but they're not the best tool for quickly identifying relationship patterns. The Cogito Knowledge Center integrates with those databases and assimilates data into models so users can conduct quick queries and review relationship patterns.

"A graph database is particularly good for intelligence work," said William Donahoo, vice president of product management and marketing at Cogito. "It allows an investigator to better understand, and perhaps proactively identify, suspicious activity and a potential threat."

The Knowledge Center consists of three key components: the Data Integration Broker, the Knowledge Center Workbench and the Graph Engine. Those modules are combined in a service-oriented architecture and support both Java and .NET architectures.

The Data Integration Broker assimilates data from various sources within an organization into the Graph Engine and dynamically tracks the data needs of a query. The Knowledge Center Workbench is a Windows-based console that allows you to map, model, ingest, query, analyze and report data in the Knowledge Center. Finally, the Graph Engine is a Java-based core that runs on both Windows and Linux 32-bit and 64-bit systems and supports the node and arc model format.

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