To respond to
an ever-changing, uncertain environment, human commanders must maintain
a general awareness of the battlespace, and yet focus on relevant contextual
information when making decisions, without distraction from peripheral
events. Decision cycles have shortened, available information has expanded,
and missions have become increasingly variegated. The repertoire of
traditional battle functions has expanded to include new types of operations,
such as ad hoc responses to terrorism, response to biochemical
threats, and operations other than those of war and coalition operations.
To meet these new challenges, the commander needs enhanced decision
support. Yet providing this automation becomes increasingly difficult
as uncertainty increases.
while the volume of raw information available for command decisions
at all echelons is rapidly increasing, its coordination and dissemination
as useful information becomes far more difficult, leading to the problem
of "data overload and information starvation." Data is
often fragmented, multi-modal, uncertain, and distributed across disparate
The next generation
of battlefield information systems must meet the twin challenges of
scaling up to accommodate the explosion of cheap ubiquitous sensors,
while extending access to increasingly heterogeneous information sources,
from the Air Force's own legacy systems to those of other cooperating
services and nations. These new sources of information must not only
be accessed; they must be converted from mere data into sources of usable,
address these issues in high-level information fusion, we are conducting
a multidisciplinary research effort involving computer scientists, engineers
and cognitive psychologists, from Carnegie Mellon University, the University
of Pittsburgh, the Munitions Directorate of Air Force Research Laboratory
(MN/AFRL), Rome Labs, and Northrup Grumman. We will combine our various
expertise to develop the next generation of information fusion systems.
problems that must be addressed in order to build these systems are:
of heterogeneous information sources both internal and external
to the Air Force (e.g. intelligence reports)
to rapidly changing threats and missions.
of information selection and dissemination to provide the right
information to the right decision maker at the right time, while
also keeping pace with the shrinking decision cycle.
to accommodate ubiquitous sensing and other expanding information
meet these challenges a next generation information system must:
- Be Modular
and flexible enough to configure itself without explicit guidance,
so that it can be deployed and used immediately.
- Be Open
enough to accommodate dynamically changing and heterogeneous information
sources, legacy systems, and various levels of fused information.
automation to direct attention; and filter, and distribute information
to warfighters at all levels.
technology for quality of information pedigrees.
information fusion across levels, maintaining coherent pictures
from varied perspectives and levels of aggregation.
future information processing and planning systems, an in-depth understanding
of the cognitive processes of the user being aided must be understood,
coupled with innovative approaches for real-time information fusion
at all levels, including multimedia and multi-modal information from
disparate and distributed sources that include enormous amounts of uncertainty
and noise. Such cognitively congruent systems will provide an intuitively
understandable common operational picture for enhanced situation assessment
and battle management, along with planning guidance and monitoring functions
in the uncertain and quickly evolving battlespace. Our overall research
hypothesis is that the way to address the issues in information fusion
at different levels is through adaptive and self-organizing collections
of Intelligent Agents who also possess models for discriminating and
communicating situational distinctions salient to humans and the current
multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research project research
will help translate information superiority into decision superiority,
i.e., to make information into knowledge, in order to rapidly
arrive at better decisions than adversaries can respond to.
Demo Presentaton (.ppt)
Institute Project Page
(Air Force Office of Scientific Research Grant F49620-01-1-0542)
© 2003 Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute