CSIRO spins off home-grown search engine

The CSIRO ICT Centre announced today the spinoff of its Panoptic enterprise search technology to form a new company, dubbed Funnelback Pty Ltd.

Funnelback can be used to search for information contained in Web sites, intranets, file-shares, and databases. As reported previously by Computerworld, the Panoptic search technology is already used by Web sites of major Australian organizations including the Australian Government Information Management Office, Westpac, the Australian Stock Exchange, the ABCorporation, and the University of Sydney.

Funnelback chairman Dr Stephen Kirby said the technology is a better search engine, because of its "superior ability to help users find the information they are looking for quickly and accurately".

CSIRO ICT Centre director Dr Alex Zelinsky, said the formation of Funnelback Pty Ltd demonstrates Australia's ability to develop leading-edge information and communication technologies and then to successfully bring them to market.

"Our success has always been driven by the development of new and innovative ways to solve our customers' problems," Zelinsky said. "Funnelback will continue in the same spirit, growing rapidly by exceeding its customers' needs."

CSIRO chief executive, Dr Geoff Garrett said CSIRO will create maximum impact for its research with the technology in a company structure with "good governance and management".

"It's also an example of successful commercialization built on great science - which is what CSIRO's rejuvenation of its ICT research is all about," he said.

Funnelback will be based in Canberra and led by former CSIRO senior manager of commercialization Stuart Beil. Dr David Hawking, a pioneer of Panoptic at the CSIRO ICT Centre, will be the company's chief scientist.

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