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Spook developer speaks! An interview with Matthew Burton

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Interviews
OSS

I had a chance to talk with Matthew Burton, the former intelligence analyst turned open source cause celebre who just launched a tool that helps frame and understand arguments with imperfect evidence.

It's based on method called Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH), which has been around for quite some time. Matthew and his friend Josh Knowles, though, have a tool that allows the ACH method to be used by multiple participants simultaneously. It's fascinating stuff, so I'm grateful that he took the time to talk with me.

First, tell me a little about ACH and how you first became interested in the method.

In the fall of 2005, Dick Heuer, the creator of ACH, contacted me after reading an article I'd written for Studies in Intelligence. The article was about how Intelink could benefit by being more like the Web. Dick had been wanting for some time to build a Web-based, multi-user tool for ACH, so he asked me to build it. I spent the following summer at DS&T, interviewing ACH practitioners and trainers.

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