ATTEND: (Automated Tools To Evaluate Negotiation Difficulty)
ATTEND seeks to develop a theoretical understanding of systems in which negotiation between multiple agents is needed to determine how a set of resources will be utilized. The goal is to be able to partition negotiation problems into sub-problems that make the negotiations simpler and, ultimately, to be able to provide warnings about the difficulty of each sub-problem. ATTEND seeks not just to do so on a theoretical basis, but to interface efficient implementations of its analytical tools to existing negotiation systems, and to demonstrate that the information supplied by ATTEND enables those systems to change their behavior in order to solve problems more effectively.
This effort coordinates multiple projects at ISI and Vanderbilt University to provide comprehensive decision support tools for military planning. See CARTE.
CARTE (Comprehensive Analytic Real-Time Execution)
CARTE produces a comprehensive decision support toolset for mission planning and control, allowing extremely rapid evaluation of alternatives and total control of the situation. The technical starting points for CARTE are negotiation technology (a new approach to resource allocation) and context-aware information management technology. Negotiation technology performs scheduling responsive to the time available for doing that scheduling and does it in a way that helps balance considerations, explore tradeoffs, and re-evaluate priorities. Context-aware information management proactively selects, filters, and routes critical information to both human and automated participants in the planning process. This concept has been tested in the ONR-managed CACE ACTD on coordinated flight scheduling and operations scheduling for Harrier squadrons. CARTE extends the CACE initial product both horizontally and vertically. Horizontally, it will extend to deployments going from squadrons of a single type/model/series to composite squadrons of multiple types/model/series, eventually covering all of TACAIR. Vertically, the level of support moves up from the squadron level toward the group level. This will dramatically reduce the time to required to handle the dynamics of supporting an Air Tasking Order, and allow us to provide forecasts of squadrons’ and groups’ capabilities to support upcoming operations.
CAMERA (Coordination and Management Environments for Responsive Agents)
CAMERA is an aggressive, systems-oriented attack on the complex problem of ensuring effective, purposeful action in an environment where behavior is dynamically determined and control relies upon cooperation between autonomous agents. Our vision is an agent environment in which collections of agents form and organize to accomplish focused, purposeful results. In such an environment, it is essential to have configurable negotiation mechanisms between agents, complemented by mechanisms enabling the agent collection to detect problems and negotiate self-correcting behaviors. The CAMERA approach focuses on developing capabilities to: (1) proactively adapt to problems and opportunities; (2) systematically reevaluate priorities in the face of conflicts or time constraints; and (3) robustly handle communication breakdowns inherent in a distributed environment.
CHIME-II (Component-based Heterogeneous Information Mosaicking Environment)
CHIME addresses a key challenge in today's intelligence community: to provide intelligence analysts with a data visualization tool that supports temporal navigation, multi-media linking, and flexible call-out of multi-dimensional data, including integrity and context data. Today's analysts can process only a portion of the information relevant to their area of interest, and the amount of that information continually increases. They needs tools that help to rapidly extract information from large, disparate data sets, to focus and hone the datasets, and then to develop dynamic presentations that allow viewing of the data from multiple perspectives, along multiple dimensions. CHIME is a collaborative analyst environment that presents a common geo-spatial framework for rapid assembly, organization and correlation, temporal and spatial analysis, and flexible visualization of multi-media intelligence information.
CMMD (Coordinated Multisource Maintenance on Demand)
CMMD explores how to help NASA Space Exploration units balance between multiple sources of demands on available resources. Demands arise from the competing interests of science, exploration, maintenance and safety upon teams of humans and robots which must be self-supporting for extended operations on the Moon and Mars.
The research has applications to mission scenarios for Crew Exploration Vehicle and other systems including fleets of unmanned and manned vehicles and robotic probes. Research issues include distributed architectures for information exchange, mixed-initiative planning, open-world distributed planning, minimally-disruptive plan and schedule repair, interleaved planning and scheduling processes, and collaborative context-sensitive interfaces to decision support tools.
CMMD is a collaboration of USC ISI, Vanderbilt University, and NASA Ames and Johnson Space Centers.
CSC (Criticality-Sensitive Coordination)
CSC extends multi-agent systems to develop decision support assistants that enable fielded human units to dynamically adapt their mission plans in response to change. Research problems include distributed coordination over large interconnected mission structures that change dynamically, supporting coordination of large-scale operations where units may have roles in multiple missions, learning to support the units better by automating decision making when data is potentially sparse, responding in (fast enough) "real time" to change, and reasoning about decision-making policies and procedures during coordination.
FAZD (System Design & Development for an Integrated Risk Analysis Tool)
Mike Orosz and Bob Neches
Under funding from the USC DHS CREATE Center, Information Sciences Institute is developing a Risk Analyst Workbench (RAW). This is a software modeling system that can be used by risk analysts to assess terrorism threats and to evaluate strategies for countering these terrorist threats. RAW is currently being designed to support risk analysis in aviation and ports and will be extended during year 2 under CREATE funds to support risk analysis in two new areas related to economic and logistical risks.
Under FAZD, a companion project to RAW, the ISI team will work with members of the DHS Center on Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease (FAZD) at Texas A&M, and risk analysts in CREATE to further extend RAW to provide a risk analysis platform for the risk analysis of intentional introduction of foreign animal and zoonotic diseases. In addition to extending the design of RAW to this knowledge domain, ISI will work with CREATE risk analysts to integrate advances in risk methodology, and improved protocols for conducting risk analysis that integrates the new data and analysis technologies.
GeoWorlds (GeoSpatial Information Management)
GeoWorlds extends, integrates, tests, and evaluates a unique combination of Digital Library and Geographical Information System technology. The integration of these technologies is being overseen by USC/ISI in collaboration with multiple sources (including the USC ISI DASHER Project, the University of Arizona, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Santa Barbara). The goal is to demonstrate a vision of a system that helps a user understand facts and events in relation to space and time by presenting and exploring those relationships in a visual environment that integrates information search and analysis tools with geospatial displays and multimedia documents.
JESPP-II (Joint Experimentation on Scalable Parallel Processors, Phase II)
JESPP-II is the second phase of a long-term multi-phase effort to support very large scale "wargame" like experiments, involving millions of entities which represent a rich mixture of current-day and hypothetical capabilities and behaviors. These experiments allow military organizations such as Joint Forces Command to explore and evaluate the interactions of alternative equipment, doctrine, training, personnel, environmental, and other factors in settings with a very high degree of fidelity and realism. The long-term goal is to (a) build the infrastructure for the enormous computational demands of very large scale experiments; (b) develop human-n-the-loop capabilities for initiating, monitoring, controlling, and analyzing the experiments; and, (c) design and demonstrate techniques for programming much richer and more sophisticated simulated entities for participation in the experiments. This current phase will develop new tools to enhance communications between the processors of the SPPs, ensure reliable communication to the operator's consoles, enable better reporting and analysis of both exercise and computer performance, and encourage new research into simulation of human behavior. To that end, personnel from Divisions I, II and VIII are collaborating with subcontractors the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and OTCI, as well as with JFCOM contractors.
SIM-TBASSCO (Semantic Interoperability Measures: Template-Based Assurance of Semantic interoperability in Software Composition)
SIM-TBASSCO addresses a critical problem in the longstanding software-engineering goal of assembling software from components: adaptive composition that is sensitive to quality concerns. Conventional approaches support composition up to a point, but they cannot handle qualitative considerations in composition, such as implementation effort, performance, resource requirements, or reliability. SIM-TBASSCO helps software developers engage in guided, efficient searches and evaluations of the set of alternative system implementations that can be built with the components available to them. It will let developers evaluate components' functional and data equivalence compatibility, find pertinent data conversion mappings, and predict performance (time, space, network) of a component architecture under specific usage situations and hardware/networking environments.
The DARPA Agent Markup Language (DAML) program and the World Wide Web Consortium Semantic Web initiative, in conjunction with other international initiatives, is aggressively developing a language for describing the meaning of Web content as well as developing associated tools that take advantage of it. WebScripter provides a tool that enables ordinary users to easily and quickly assemble reports extracting and fusing information from multiple, heterogeneous DAMLized Web sources. It also provides tools for creating semantic content, and for providing context-aware information to users.
Marbles schemes are a family of cooperative and adaptive algorithms for distributed resource allocation problems. Long-term goals for these schemes emphasize fault tolerance and real-time performance in which a good timely solution is preferable to an optimal but too late solution. This project develops base technology for MARBLES algorithms, as well as exploring issues of application to Unmanned Combat Autonomous Vehicles.
CONRO (Configurable Robots)
The CONRO Project has a goal of providing the Warfighter with a miniature reconfigurable robot that can be tasked to perform reconnaissance and search-and-identification tasks in urban, seashore and other field environments. CONRO is made from identical miniature modules, each about 2.5 cm long. It can be programmed to alter its topology in order to respond to environmental challenges, such as obstacles. The base topology is simply connected, as in a snake, but the system can reconfigure itself in order to grow a set of legs or other specialized appendages. Each module consists of a CPU, some memory, a battery, and a micro-motor, plus a variety of other sensors and functionality, including vision and wireless connection and docking sensors. Major challenges include packaging, power and cooling, as well as the major issue of programming and program control. The system will be fully distributed, with no central controller, with the top-level structure being JAVA-based agents.