A Flexible and Extensible Solution to Incorporating New RF Devices and Capabilities into EW/ ISR Networks

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The official link for this solicitation is: http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sbir/solicitations/sttr2013A/index.shtml


OBJECTIVE: Develop a representation with formal semantics for the static and dynamic characteristics of Radio Frequency (RF) devices. DESCRIPTION: In military applications, RF devices constitute a heterogeneous network of receivers/transmitters deployed primarily for the purpose of communicating tactical information. However, current RF devices are highly versatile and have the potential of fulfilling various functions in support of various tasks such as Situational Awareness, Electronic Warfare/Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (EW/ISR). In the highly dynamic warfare environment, networks performing these functions should be easily extendable to incorporate new device types and to support additional applications [1]. Development of a language to describe both the capabilities of RF components and their current operational status is needed to support addition of new devices to multifunction networks in the field, without requiring software changes elsewhere in the network. Successful development of such a language leading to easier extension of fielded networks will result in more rapid availability and wide deployment of capabilities such as RF situational awareness, enabling more efficient spectrum use whose benefit is higher communications capacity for both DOD and civilian users, and EW/ISR capabilities providing improved tactical effectiveness for DOD users. While some limited capability and status description could be achieved by the use of Extensible Markup Language (XML) coupled with an appropriate Document Type Definition (DTD) [2], such an approach would be limited by XML"s lack of formal semantics. In particular, complete descriptions of device capabilities would have to be provided in a strictly prescribed format in order to be processed by the network infrastructure, which would consume substantial bandwidth. Finally, any extension of the device types or status information would require a modification of the software that interprets the XML descriptions. To avoid the above-described problems, proposed solutions should focus on development and/or specialization of a representation with formal, computer-processable semantics that is based on a standard language. Examples of such semantic languages are: Web Ontology Language (OWL) [3] and Rule Interchange Format (RIF) [4]. Prior work in this area has resulted in ontology to describe the various aspects of the RF device structure and functionality [5]. However, this ontology is not sufficient for describing all of the characteristics of RF devices and their operational status. Moreover, this work has not been demonstrated in relevant scenarios. Proposed solutions should support automated tools that can automatically incorporate new devices into an RF Situation Awareness or EW/ISR network. In particular, a language should be proposed in which new device types and dynamically changing device status can be represented. Additionally, the research should result in a run time system that demonstrates use of the descriptions of RF components and their status by the network infrastructure. Moreover, the limits of the expressiveness of the language need to be investigated. PHASE I: Develop an ontology appropriate for capturing descriptions of typical RF devices and device status information, relevant for use of those devices to support RF situational awareness and other EW/ISR tasks. Select a standards-based representation language and propose any extensions to the language that are necessary to effectively represent the ontology. Assess the limits of expressiveness of the ontology and of the language (as extended) with respect to both current and future RF devices and device status. Develop scenarios for testing the use of the ontology and language in a command and control system that selects an RF device to carry out a specified reception, transmission and/or processing task. Interact with organizations and programs that may be users of the technology to assess requirements and improve their understanding of its benefits. PHASE II: Express the ontology in the selected representation language. Evolve the ontology and extend the language as needed. Design and implement a run time system that supports use of the descriptions of RF components and their status in a command and control system that selects an RF device to carry out a specified reception, transmission and/or processing task. Develop a test environment for evaluating the run time system under the scenarios developed in Phase I. Carry out evaluation experiments accordingly. Interact with organizations and programs that may be users of the technology and adjust the ontology, language, run time system design, implementation strategy, scenarios and tests to maximize probability of successful adoption. PHASE III: There is a critical military need for RF situational awareness and other EW/ISR capabilities that exploit large numbers of networked sensors and transmitters. Work is ongoing on methods to exploit RF devices already in the field for other purposes to support such capabilities [1], reducing or eliminating the cost of deploying special-purpose devices. Products based on the technology developed in this project will more readily extend to incorporate a larger range of devices, thus facilitating more rapid deployment and wider availability of the new EW/ISR network capabilities such as RF situational awareness. Similarly, benefits are expected in command and control systems for commercial RF device networks. One expected application is real-time reallocation of spectrum among multiple cellular and public safety wireless networks enabling increased civil data communications in normal conditions and increased public safety communications in emergency situations without increasing total spectrum requirements. Achieving that benefit requires broad-area real-time RF situational awareness, which will be made more affordable and more precise through flexible addition of heterogeneous devices to the sensor network as enabled by the results of this project. REFERENCES: 1) Advanced RF Mapping (RadioMap) Program. Solicitation Number: DARPA-BAA-12-26. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, March 27, 2012. 2) Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0 (Fifth Edition). W3C Recommendation, 26 November 2008. 3) OWL Web Ontology Language?Overview. W3C Recommendation, 10 February 2004. 4) RIF Overview. W3C Working Group Note, 22 June 2010. 5) Wireless Innovation Forum"Description of the Cognitive Radio Ontology", Technical Report WINNF-10-S-0007, September 30 2010. Available at http://groups.winnforum.org/d/do/ 3370.

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