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Activity title

Adaptive information processing and distribution to support Command and Control

Activity Reference

IST-168 (AI2S)

Panel

Information Systems Technology

Security Classification

NATO UNCLASSIFIED

Status

Active

Activity type

RTG

Start date

2018

End date

2021

Keywords

Architecture, Data and Service Discovery, DataCentric, MicroServices

Background

In military operational mission contexts, vehicles and military personnel have ever more IT and communication devices for acquiring and processing information. However, connectivity cannot be guaranteed. Hence, a dichotomy exists. On the one hand improved sensing, mobile computing and on-board IT systems presents great possibility for the acquisition and processing of (big) data for intelligence. On the other hand, the disadvantaged battlefield connectivity prevents these opportunities from being fully exploited. As a result, the use of data suffers. However, a more adaptive infrastructure allows either the data and/or the application to be moved, thereby allowing processing and information generation at the optimal location. This takes into account the local and current availability of data storage, processing power and connectivity between platforms. Simply said, the consideration becomes to either ‘move the data to the code’ or to ‘move the code to the data’. Therefore, new control strategies for matching data storage, processing and connectivity availability are needed, that orchestrate the distribution and execution of data and processing resources to generate information. Such similar considerations hold for the various operational theatres, i.e. army, navy and air force. Examples may include: • Data gathered by dismounted soldiers is processed by a computer in a close-by vehicle. Connectivity to the headquarters is not required. • While surfaced, a submarine can exchange on-board intelligence, applications, products, etc. with local allied platforms or remote strategic headquarters. This may include synchronisation of specific information with close-by surface ships for their specific intelligence analysis and decision making algorithms. Key for success is an advanced, autonomous and real-time data exchange and service execution orchestration mechanism. Such an exchange must include the discovery, matching and distribution functions that convert and combine the knowledge of data supply and demand with data storage, processing and connectivity resources into an optimized, adaptive and executable processing and information distribution strategy. This process is enabled by various emerging trends and technologies including data centric infrastructures, containerisation, (micro-)service development, and support of discovery through extensive metadata exchange.

Objectives

The scientific objective is to assess information exploitation improvements that result from the combined data and service resource matching approach, the data-centric infrastructure approach, and the containerised (micro-service) deployment approach. The overarching vision is to make the ‘ocean-of-data’ readily and seamlessly available in a theatre-independent military NATO tactical mission context.

Topics

1. Information management (e.g., access, distribution, utilization) techniques in a theatre-independent environment – The ‘ocean-of-data’ must be made readily and seamlessly available to a flexible application landscape that can access and utilize those data across the various military tactical mission theatres. This theatre-independent data driven approach will be explored through various emerging technologies as described in paragraph I. 2. Theatre-independent management of heterogeneous information sources - How the emerging technologies (as described in paragraph I) can deal with the anticipated situation of a large amount of information with a high degree of heterogeneity needs to be investigated. Potential topics for investigation may be related to the types of data, sources of data (military and/or civilian), trustworthiness (quality and reliability), value of information, and confidentiality of data. 3. Technology constraints, benefits and weaknesses - The potential constraints, benefits and weaknesses of the emerging technologies (as described in paragraph I) for use in deployed military tactical mission contexts will be identified. 4. Architecture implications – The introduction of such technologies may have implications on existing solutions. Explorations will include topics such as the implications on IT operations management in a NATO mission context, application development, and the deployment process.

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