International Technology Alliance

International Technology Alliance

The International Technology Alliance (ITA) is a research program initiated by the UK Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom) (MoD) and the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL). The research program is intended to run for 10 years. Its full name is United States/United Kingdom International Technology Alliance in Network and Information Sciences.

The program is a combination of country-specific research programs that were run by ARL and MoD respectively. The ARL ran several programs called Collaborative Technology Alliances (CTAs) and the MoD ran equivalent programs. The CTAs programs are run for the duration of 3-5 years, and usually involved a consortium of industrial research laboratories and Universities to team together to solve research problems in a specific domain.

The International Technology Alliance differs from the CTAs primarily in the fact that its scope is international, and spans two countries, the United States and the United Kingdom. Thus, the alliance consists of researchers from ARL and MoD working together with several UK and US based industries and Universities to solve several fundamental research problems.

ITA is focused on performing research in four technical areas (i) network theory focusing on wireless and sensor networks (ii) security across systems of systems focusing of solving security issues that arise when two different networks need to interoperate (iii) sensor information processing and delivery focusing on issues involving sensor network information management and (iv) distributed decision making and coalition planning focusing on how humans from different countries use the network to make informed decisions.

The research work in ITA is fundamental in nature, and the goal is to perform public domain research by means of published papers. The restriction of research to fundamental research was done in order to avoid running into any issues related to ITAR which often arise in work focused on or sponsored by the armed forces of a country.

The ITA group established in 2006 consists of 24 members from US and UK industries and Universities (in addition to the ARL and MoD), and is led by IBM Research.

Research Results in First Year

In the first year (May 2006-May 2007) of its existence, International Technology Alliance has achieved a number of scientific advances that are commendable. The research output from the alliance has obtained many benefits from the joint working together of the researchers in the two countries. Advances made by the alliance include analysis of cooperative networking in wireless networks, distributed beamforming, and efficient dissemination of information in coalition networks; policy based security management analysis algorithms, a calculus for trust and risk analysis in coaltion environments, efficient algorithms to analyze quality of information of sensor data, and a variety of algorithms to associate military missions to sensors. Advances have also been made in human-centric issues, with usage of paradigms such as cultural network analysis.

The alliance maintains a link to its papers that were produced as a result of the collaborative research at its official web-page.

The alliance research had its first successful technology transfer at the close of the first year. The alliance researchers were using IBM message queue family of product to develop an experimental architecture sensor network, when the US army researchers realized that the same architecture might make a good mechanism to interconnect several military sensors. As a result, research work done in UK (which develops the message queue products form IBM)has resulted in an infrastructure interconnecting military sensors for the US army. This technology transfer is viewed inside the alliance as a harbinger of several other technology transfers during the course of the program.

Research Results in Second Year

In the second year (May 2007 - May 2008), the alliance had some changes with some new faculty members from existing institutions added into the program. The research agenda and focus on the projects that were defined during inception were continued. In the second year, the program made several advances in the field of biologically inspired wireless networks. The papers trying to copy biological ideas to design better networks included using a circulation system to design the topology of wireless sensor networks, using the concept of swarming to disseminate and harvest information in vehicular networks, and using the concept of homeostatis to design a new type of network. Other new areas of activity undertaken by the alliance included research in quality of information, policy based security management using the concept of abductive logic, use of threshold cryptography in wireless mobile ad-hoc networks, and development of a cultural network analysis model.

Programatically, the alliance started bringing out periodic newsletters to announce its findings. The newsletters can be seen on its website.

External links

* [http://www.usukita.org US UK ITA Home Page]
* [http://logikbase.com/website/techprofile.cfm?licid=898 Available technologies - Novel Successive Beamforming Schemes for Multiple Antenna Systems]


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