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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to Lead $25M Initiative for Battlefield IoT

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Nov. 1, 2017 — The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been selected to lead a $25 million initiative to develop the scientific foundations of a next-generation Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT), designed to enable new predictive battlefield analytics and services.

The "Alliance for IoBT Research on Evolving Intelligent Goal-driven Networks” (IoBT REIGN), funded by the Army Research Lab (ARL), includes collaborators from ARL, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Southern California and SRI International. The funding covers the first five years of a potential 10-year effort to connect soldiers with smart technology in armor, radios, weapons and other objects to give troops "extrasensory" perception, offer situational understanding, endow fighters with prediction powers, provide better risk assessment and develop shared intuitions.

"This award enables a true collaboration between researchers at ARL and researchers in academia and industry to change the status quo in smart battlefield services," said Tarek Abdelzaher, the academic lead of the alliance and a professor of computer science at Illinois. "Through ARL's Collaborative Research Alliance model, we can change our fundamental understanding of what's possible when computers, sensors, data, weapons, soldiers, wearables and media analytics are networked to empower new defense capabilities."

In a battle environment, human operators must adapt to unexpected changes. IoBT researchers aim to create a cyber network of "things" that adapt as the mission evolves. That means that a system will have to analyze its available resources and re-assemble itself to best meet requirements for the present execution. In addition, these systems must be self-aware and able to reason about their goals, state, vulnerabilities and other characteristics in order to meet a commander's intent. They have to be able to counteract and mitigate disruptions and attacks in near real time and provide stability under uncertain conditions.

The IoBT system must also have cognitive abilities and be able to fuse data from technology with data from humans. It will have to function in a continuous state of learning at multiple timescales, for example, learning from previous actions while acting in the present and anticipating future moves. As a result, the system will be able to provide commanders with the most relevant information at any given time.
Nov 2017
BusinessUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignInternet of Battlefield ThingsIoBTdefenseCommunicationsIOTAmericasindustrial

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