Lucent Turns Data Into A Visual Feast

SINCE BEING SPUN OFF FROM AT&T last year, Lucent Technologies Inc., the former Bell Labs, has been prolific. On Dec. 8, Lucent announced its fifth business venture. Called Visual Insights, the wholly owned company, headquartered in Naperville, Ill., plans to market software programs that transform vast amounts of data into visual displays for easy analysis.

The software draws on years of Bell research and patents in computer graphics, statistics, human factors, and computer science. The company's first product uses data-visualization techniques to help with complex Year 2000 projects. All of a company's software programs are represented graphically, with lines showing relationships and colors signifying how crucial each is to operations. From there, a manager can drill down and look at individual programs--up to 100,000 lines of programming code can be graphically displayed at once. Date-sensitive lines of code that need to be fixed are identified, speeding up project time. A visualization program aimed at managing networks is scheduled for release early next year.

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