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Sunday, August 22, 2004

DNA technique and anti-spamming via New Scientist

A technique originally designed to analyse DNA sequences is the latest weapon in the war against spam. An algorithm named Chung-Kwei (after a feng-shui talisman that protects the home against evil spirits) can catch nearly 97 per cent of spam.Chung-Kwei is based on the Teiresias algorithm, developed by the bioinformatics research group at IBM's Thomas J Watson Research Center in New York, US. Teiresias was designed to search different DNA and amino acid sequences for recurring patterns, which often indicate genetic structures that have an important role.Instead of chains of characters representing DNA sequences, the research group fed the algorithm 65,000 examples of known spam. Each email was treated as a long, DNA-like chain of characters.IBM intends to include Chung-Kwei in its commercial product, SpamGuru. Justin Mason, who developed SpamAssassin, one of the most popular open-source anti-spam filters, says that Chung-Kwei looks promising."I think there is still a lot of work to be done. But what is exciting is not the particular algorithm, but the fact that IBM has shown there is the entire field of bioinformatics techniques to explore in the fight against spam." The complete technical paperThis paper explains the application of this technique with more examples and points out to the future direction of research and application of this technique.
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