What does Palantir do?The platform handles both structured and unstructured information and performs extraction and data integration. See their infrastructure page and white videos for a few more details.
... the most central hard problem that we address in trying to enable the analyst is data modeling, the process of figuring out what data types are relevant to a domain, defining what they represent in the world, and deciding how to represent them in the system. At Palantir we make sure our data model (ontology) is both flexible and dynamic, and that it mirrors the concepts people naturally use when reasoning about the domain.
Their data platform handles objects. An Object in their platform has four object components:
- Properties: text object attributes
- Media: images, video, and binary data
- Notes: free text
- Relationships: links between objects
Clients can specialize this generic object to have specific types using their "Dynamic Ontology" tool to define the semantics. Their platform has one fixed schema with 5 tables: object, property, notes, media, and object-object. An object is linked to one or more data sources which is critical for data lineage and access controls.
A key component of the platform is search over the objects. According to their blog, their scenario has two differentiating features from web search:
- Realtime indexing and querying – we need information to be available immediately as it changes in the system.
- Leak-proof access controls – we need the search engine to help us make sure that we don’t have information leaking across access control boundaries.
Palantir's platform combines data processing over large heterogenous datasets, filtering, mapping, visualization, and search in unique ways to create a compelling toolset. It built an intelligence platform that the Government could not do themselves by recruiting a team of uber-geek talent lured by hip silicon valley panache worthy of James Bond.