Honors Gallery

Columnar Hierachical Auto-Associative Memory Processing in Ontological Networks

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2016

Award Type: National

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

Columnar Hierarchical Auto-Associative Memory Processing in Ontological Networks (CHAMPION) technology is an advanced reasoning software system that is revolutionizing the detection of cyber threats and decision making in a range of domains.

Modeled after the neocortex of the human brain, CHAMPION recognizes patterns by combining subject-matter expertise with historical data, thus enabling security analysts to detect threats in near real-time. By providing more relevant and timely cyber threat data, CHAMPION streamlines tasks that often consume up to 40% of an analyst's day, resulting in a cost savings and allowing the analyst to focus on higher-priority tasks.

The patented software and methodology were designed and brought to market by the scientists, engineers, and technology commercialization staff at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in conjunction with the Early X Foundation, an early-stage investor.

PNNL initially developed CHAMPION with a multi-year internal investment aimed at large-scale digital computer and control infrastructure. The National Nuclear Security Administration also recognized the promise of the technology to address insider threats. Subsequently, CHAMPION developers advanced the product to a research-grade code with the potential for even greater impact beyond the national laboratory enterprise.

Efforts to bring CHAMPION to market began in 2011, when CHAMPION creator and former PNNL staff member Ryan Hohimer partnered with the PNNL commercialization staff to harden the code for commercial use, demonstrate its applicability in a real enterprise, and apply for a patent, which was granted in 2014. During this time, the CHAMPION team was introduced to Early X, a nonprofit education foundation spun out from Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management. Early X partnered 26 MBA students and 35 business executives from diverse business backgrounds, who identified approximately 70 new vertical market opportunities and developed market feasibility reports to pursue those opportunities for the patented software system. Recognizing the market potential for this technology, Early X decided to create Champion Technology Company, Inc. (CTCI) (which licensed the technology from PNNL) and recruited angel investors to secure the seed funding needed to deliver CHAMPION to the cybersecurity market.

As an outcome of this technology transfer, the CTCI for-profit corporation is now an 18-month-old startup built around the patented CHAMPION system. The company has attracted investments totaling approximately $1.54 million to date. CTCI is applying CHAMPION's groundbreaking reasoning system to cybersecurity challenges facing the government, commercial industry,and non-government organizations.

Contact: Shawn Hampton, (509) 372-6228, [email protected]

Team Members:

Shawn Hampton, John McEntire, Dr. Kannan Krishnaswami, Frank Greitzer, Matthew Love, Ryan Hohimer