LONDON The European Commission has authorized aid worth €120 million that Germany intends to grant to start Theseus, a research project for developing and testing new search technologies for the next generation Internet.
Theseus – named after the character in Greek mythology who uses Ariadne's thread to navigate King Minos' maze – aims to foster the innovative potential of multimedia technologies and services.
The objective is to develop and test new search technologies and integrated information and communications technology services for the next-generation internet.
Theseus will also deal with structured online access to cultural information for the general public, for example to digital libraries and other cultural facilities.
Research will focus on semantic technologies which try to recognise the meaning of content and place it in its proper context, helping computer programs to understand the context in which data is stored.
In a first phase, several larger companies, Empolis GmbH, SAP AG, Siemens AG and Deutsche Thomson oHG, are to receive grants to act as icebreakers, opening up the potential for new R&D.
In later phases, small and medium enterprises would receive aid to build on the results. There would also be collaboration between science and industry. Until 2011, approximately €120 million will be allocated to the project.
Theseus originates from April 2005, when Germany and France agreed to work towards a new technology policy to strengthen the competitiveness of both countries. Subsequently, a high-level group proposed, among other projects, Quaero, an initiative regarding search-technologies and services for the future internet. While France maintained the project-title Queaero, Germany named its national program Theseus. France is currently discussing corresponding state aid plans with the Commission. Both countries aim to collaborate, for example, in the framework of joint workshops.