Congratulations and Thank You to Benson Margulies
Founding CTO Retires after 18 Years with Basis Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts — October 24, 2016 — Basis Technology today announced the retirement of Benson Margulies, Chief Technology Officer, after an 18 year tenure. Benson remains a major shareholder and will join the company’s advisory board. Leadership of the text analytics engineering team will pass to Itai Rolnick, while leadership of the digital forensics engineering team continues with Brian Carrier.
In 1998, Benson joined a five-person company with a few customers and focused on software globalization. During his tenure, Benson:
- Wrote the company’s first Chinese language analysis, Chinese script conversion, and automatic language identification modules.
- Led a 100-person joint Amazon.com and Basis Technology engineering team which in less than one year created the first Unicode-enabled version of the Amazon.com e-commerce platform. This in turn supported the successful launch in November 2000 of Amazon.co.jp, which after sixteen years remains the largest e-commerce site in Japan as well as Amazon’s largest overseas retail operation.
- Created the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean linguistic analyzers supporting Google’s 2001 launch in Asia, becoming the world’s first multilingual web search engine, as well as the Chinese script converter which supported Google’s 2002 launch of pan-Chinese search.
- In the aftermath of 9/11, wrote the company’s first analyzers for Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Pashto, and Urdu, which are today widely deployed throughout the U.S. Intelligence Community including the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (IC ITE) Content Warehouse.
- Delivered multilingual morphological analysis into leading enterprise search platforms, including products from Attivio, Autonomy/Verity, Convera, EMC/Documentum, Microsoft/FAST, Oracle/Endeca, and others.
- Made key architectural and engineering contributions to intelligence collection and analytic programs for the U.S. Intelligence Community, including the threat detection system responsible for thwarting the “liquid bomb plot” of 2006.
- Led the design and implementation of one of the fastest and most accurate entity recognition engines, capable of extracting names of people, places, and organizations from unstructured text across twenty languages.
- Led the design and implementation of the Rosette text analytics platform, with parallel native code and JVM implementations, delivering a full stack of analytic capabilities and integrations into Lucene, Solr, Elasticsearch, and RapidMiner.
- In the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, led the engineering integration of the Rosette Name Indexer into U.S. border control systems to boost precision and recall checking names against watch lists.
- Pioneered new techniques in machine learning, cross-script name matching, and curation of large training corpora.
- Launched RosetteAPI, a publicly available, low-cost service offering morphological analysis, entity extraction, entity resolution, relationship extraction, sentiment analysis, and categorization across the widest range of languages available from a single provider.
In his farewell letter to his co-workers, Benson wrote:
After nearly 18 years here, I’ve come to a turning point in my personal and professional life. With the nest empty, my wife Karen and I have decided to make an adventure of our next phase.
My years at Basis have formed me as a professional, and I will always be grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to learn from, and with, all of you. I am, of course, particularly grateful to Carl in making this place and its culture possible.
I think the rest of you deserve a chance to think of great ideas and try them, and learn your own lessons.
A senior official in the United States Intelligence Community, delivering a keynote address at Basis Technology’s user conference, and speaking in reference to successfully deployed systems built by Benson’s team, said:
“Your technology has saved hundreds of man-years of labor and millions of dollars and has produced strategic information and resources we would not otherwise have. You are making a difference to the fight this country is facing. And I want to thank you for that.”
Benson, on behalf of your co-workers and the many users of your software around the world, we want to thank you, too.