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Software Agents for Coalition Forces. Second International Conference on Knowledge Systems for Coalition Operations, 23rd and 24th April 2002 Toulouse, France. By Zakaria Maamar , Paul Labbé, and Wathiq Mansoor.

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slide1

Software Agents for Coalition Forces

Second International Conference on Knowledge Systems for Coalition Operations, 23rd and 24th April 2002 Toulouse, France

By Zakaria Maamar, Paul Labbé, and Wathiq Mansoor.

Presented by Paul Labbé, P. Eng., IEEE SeniorDefense R & D Canadapaulmail@ieee.org

Tel.: +1 (418) 844-4000 x 4479

KSCO April 2002 Toulouse France

This presentation reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily represent the plans and policies of the Canadian Department of National Defence or of Zayed University

slide2

Abstract

The distributed, heterogeneity, and dynamic nature of the coalition context has raised the need for new advanced technologies. These technologies aim at managing the coalition informational infrastructure, in terms of autonomy, adaptability, and scalability. To achieve this support, Software Agents (SAs) seem to be a promising approach. To develop this approach, different aspects of a coalition has to be identified. These aspects include the coalition structure; the roles and responsibilities held by people within the coalition; the flow of information within the coalition; the capabilities required or available within the coalition; and the context in which the coalition operates. For many of these aspects, SAs can be used; . For instance, the coalition structure can be associated with several SAs of different types and with different roles.

allied warfare objective

Introduction

The ultimate objective of Allied Warfare is to increase the overall Joint/Coalition Force mission and task success rate and geopolitical influence agreed by the driving Nations. This objective imposes more difficult to meet requirements for demanding operations as in littoral warfare theater. The generation of the necessary conditions to increase the speed and accuracy of Joint/Coalition command and control include but are not limited to the material of this presentation.

Allied warfare objective
from live coalition exercises

Requirement Specification

The Force Over the Horizon Track Coordinator (FOTC) data base resulted in many large inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the Global Command and Control System- Maritime (GCCS-M) picture (identity attribute of tracks (ID) jumping and time lateness)

Operators believed picture to be accurate

Stale data used to make decisions (Blue Force was successfully ambushed by Orange ships)

FOTC held correct ID on several Hostile Tracks while LINK 11 reported them as Unknown for long periods

Orange ships came within weapons range of high value blue units (Kittyhawk) without being reported for long periods of time

Sanitization rules within Radiant Mercury strip vital data (e.g. source data)

From live coalition exercises
slide5

Agent-based architecture

How to deal with interoperability issues?

slide6

Three dimensions of interoperability issues:physical interconnectivity, application integration, and command collaboration

we propose a software agent architecture and structure to resolve some of these issues
Meeting infrastructure

Information exchange control

Multi-agent environment

Security of execution and sharing

Shared decision-making

…..

We propose a software agent architecture and structure to resolve some of these issues!
slide8

Agent-based architecture

A software agent definition

  • An autonomous entity having the abilities to assist users when performing their operations, to collaborate with each other to jointly solve different problems, and to answer users' needs
slide9

Agent-based architecture

A simplified CCIS model

  • A structure and a set of functions and tasks
slide10

Agent-based architecture

Architecture for interoperable CCISs

  • Aspects to be dealt with
    • Maintain the autonomy and independence of the CCISs
    • Reduce the informational disparities of the interconnected CCISs
    • Protect the interconnected CCISs from the unauthorized accesses
    • Evaluate the communication channels performance, particularly in low-bandwidth situations (QoS, CSNI)
    • Help users satisfy their needs without worrying about the characteristics of the CCISs
slide12

Agent-based architecture

Architecture main characteristics

  • Interface-Agent
  • CCIS-Agent/Function-Agent
  • Resolution-Agent
  • Control-Agent
  • Supervisor-Agent
  • Advertisment infrastructure
interface agent
It assists users in formulating needs, maps needs into requests, forwards requests to the CCIS-Agent in order to be processed, and provides users with answers obtained from the CCIS-Agent.

Agent-based architecture

Interface-Agent
slide14

Agent-based architecture

CCIS-Agent

  • It processes user requests received from the Interface-Agent, but only if these requests require the involvement of the CCIS of this particular CCIS-Agent. In the proposed architecture, a CCIS-Agent has the ability to advertise its services by posting notes on the Bulletin Board of the Advertisement Infrastructure. To do so, the CCIS-Agent can either send a remote request to the Supervisor-Agent or can migrate to this infrastructure; the choice is based on the network status. In both cases, i.e., remote request or soft-mobility, a security level associated with the CCIS-Agent is used to identify the services this CCIS-Agent is authorized to advertise.
slide15

Agent-based architecture

Turning CCISs into agents of MAS

  • Purpose: making a CCIS to behave like a SA
    • Build a SA on top of the CCIS
slide17

Agent-based architecture

Resolution-Agent

slide19

Agent-based architecture

Supervisor-Agent

slide20

Agent-based architecture

Advertisement Infrastructure

  • In an interoperating environment, CCISs are generally spread across networks and rely on low capacity and unreliable channels for communication. Moreover, a military user may use his Combat Net Radio to send and request information or may rely on mobile devices, such as portable computers, that are only intermittently connected to networks. In the proposed architecture, to avoid overloading the network, CCIS-Agents and Resolution-Agents migrate to the Advertisement Infrastructure in which CCIS-Agents advertise their services by posting notes on the Bulletin Board, whereas Resolution-Agents consult the Bulletin Board to identify the CCISs that are required to satisfy user needs.
slide21

Agent-based architecture

Advertisement Infrastructure

slide23

Agent-based architecture

Satisfying a user

preliminary analysis
What information is to be managed, and what are the properties of this information?

Identify and categorize information items

Specify source, destination, size, update period, comm paths, security

Under what circumstances will the information be used and managed?

Define: Context = Goal  Stable Conditions  Dynamic Conditions

Specify the Importance (I) of each Context

What a priori assessments can be made about the value of the different types of information in specific circumstances?

Potential (P): relevance of information for a Context

Quality (Q): how accurate information should be for a Context

Timeliness (T): how recent information should be for a Context

Improving Information Sharing

Preliminaryanalysis
prioritization rule set

Improving Information Sharing

Prioritization rule set

OBJECTIVE: Optimize use of system resources (e.g., BW), and ensure most valuable information is processed first

Priority(i,) = w I· ( wP Pi+ wQ Qi+ wT Ti+ X )

i = information item = contextI = Importance of w, wP, wQ, wT = weighting factors

Pi = Potential of i for Qi  = Quality of i for Ti  = Timeliness of i for X = accounts for other factors (e.g., dynamic conditions)

X = f ( Qi , qi , Ti , i)

For example:

qi = measured quality of ii = actual timeliness of i

quality assignment rule set
OBJECTIVE: Assess the information attributes found in Coalition databases with the aim of integrating different data sources

Maintain separate track position and ID quality measures

Account for intrinsic sensor limitations (e.g., range, environmental conditions) --> the best sensor does not always have the best data

Provide a systematic and consistent statistical definition of error

Allow degradation in position quality during DR

Problem: For security reasons, information is often sanitized or partially stripped (e.g., source) before dissemination, making quality assessment difficult

Improving Information Sharing

Quality assignment rule set
slide27

Impact of changes on mission

model-based measures

cost of time to discover deliberate fuse
Cost of time to discover, deliberate/fuse

Value of the information presented to a commander in hypothetical OTH –T for the surface hostile contacts reported.

This axis can be interpreted as a combination of positional inaccuracies of surface hostile contacts reported.

1 time to discovery cost

This axis shows the age or delay since sensor time of surface hostile contacts reported after processing and deliberation.

discovery fusion gain recipe
Discovery/fusion gain (recipe)

2 gain from discovery

1 time to discovery cost

gain in applying recipe to updates
Gain in applying recipe to updates

2 gain from discovery

1 time to discovery cost

3 gain with updates

loss in sharing the result
Loss in sharing the result

2 gain from discovery

4 cost for sharing

1 time to discovery cost

3 gain with updates

sharing recipe preserve gain capacity
Sharing recipe preserve gain + capacity

5 improvement by sharing recipe instead of fusion results

2 gain from discovery

4 cost for sharing

1 time to discovery cost

3 gain with updates

improving interoperability sharing
Must be able to measure value of local discovery or fusion.

When a discovery or fusion improves own picture above the received picture by a given threshold

display this result locally

send own data used in recipe

send recipe with list of ingredients (track# used)

responsible for sending own data for this recipe until found inadequate locally or remotely.

Eliminate data incest and does not require the sharing of source identity (avoid loss of information required for appropriate MSDF) but provide an improved confidence in shared information. Provide “track pedigree”.

First steps in developing agreed information quality schemes.

Important unit and force effectiveness gain for various missions.

Improving interoperability + sharing
cost of time to discover deliberate fuse1
Cost of time to discover, deliberate/fuse

Value of the information presented to a commander in hypothetical OTH –T for the surface hostile contacts reported.

This axis can be interpreted as a combination of positional inaccuracies of surface hostile contacts reported.

1 time to discovery cost

This axis shows the age or delay since sensor time of surface hostile contacts reported after processing and deliberation.

discovery fusion gain recipe1
Discovery/fusion gain (recipe)

2 gain from discovery

1 time to discovery cost

gain in applying recipe to updates1
Gain in applying recipe to updates

2 gain from discovery

1 time to discovery cost

3 gain with updates

loss in sharing the result1
Loss in sharing the result

2 gain from discovery

4 cost for sharing

1 time to discovery cost

3 gain with updates

sharing recipe preserve gain capacity1
Sharing recipe preserve gain + capacity

5 improvement by sharing recipe instead of fusion results

2 gain from discovery

4 cost for sharing

1 time to discovery cost

3 gain with updates

improving interoperability sharing1
Must be able to measure value of local discovery or fusion.

When a discovery or fusion improves own picture above the received picture by a given threshold

display this result locally

send own data used in recipe

send recipe with list of ingredients (track# used)

responsible for sending own data for this recipe until found inadequate locally or remotely.

Eliminate data incest and does not require the sharing of source identity (avoid loss of information required for appropriate MSDF) but provide an improved confidence in shared information. Provide “track pedigree”.

First steps in developing agreed information quality schemes.

Important unit and force effectiveness gain for various missions.

Improving interoperability + sharing
slide40

Conclusionsand recommendations

  • The impact on mission effectiveness of adopting a meeting infrastructure exploiting agent-based architectures for CCISs need to be considered and be accurately assessed.
  • Presentedmajor characteristics of the MAS interoperability approach and the design of collaborative environments for distributed and heterogeneous CCISs.
  • Eight types of SAs exist in the architecture proposed for coalition support (Interface-Agent, CCIS-Agent, Resolution-Agent, Control-Agent, Function-Agent, Supervisor-Agent, Help-Agent, Route-Agent) while four stages describe this architecture operating (Initialization, Advertisement, Operation, Maintenance).
  • Further works need to be done for demonstrating the value of the coalition embedded characteristics of the proposed infrastructure.
slide41
Using information value for optimizing end users’ shared awareness is not simple but the potential gains outweigh the effort required, by delivering increases in mission precision and success rate that guarantee long term benefits and would increase public support.

An agent-based architecture would also provide cost effective capabilities for future improvements, measurability, maintainability and support for training and simulation.

Conclusions and recommendations (cont’d)