Raytheon probes foreign metaphors for Army lab

Raytheon BBN Technologies, a division of Raytheon Co., has won a $2.5 million technology award from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) under the Metaphor program.

The Raytheon goal is to create analysis tools and techniques that provide insight into the underlying beliefs and worldviews that metaphors can reveal.

The system will automatically find, identify and categorize large numbers of linguistic metaphors in foreign language texts.

Under the contract, Raytheon BBN will:

  • Develop tools and techniques to identify, qualify and categorize metaphors;
  • Build a metaphor repository that identifies and links key elements of linguistic metaphors to the conceptual metaphor;
  • Develop a fully functional metaphorical language analysis system.

"Awareness and understanding of metaphors will provide novel insight into underlying cultural beliefs," said Prem Natarajan, head of speech and language processing for Raytheon BBN Technologies, in the announcement.

"The ability to recognize and categorize these subtle and often unnoticed cultural metaphors in native-language text is an extremely difficult and multifaceted technology challenge," he explained.

Raytheon Co., of Waltham, Mass., ranks No. 4 on Washington Technology’s 2011 Top 100 list of the largest federal government contractors.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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