Faster, Better Emergency Response Using 'Information Agents'
Information agents are pieces of software that can acquire and process real-time data collected from sensor networks in order to support situational awareness and operational decision-making.
With BAE Systems and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funding, the five-year ALADDIN programme involves scientists from BAE Systems and the universities of Southampton, Bristol, Oxford and Imperial College London.
A key aim of the project is to improve the way emergency services deal with and respond to major transport accidents, terrorist attacks and earthquakes, for instance - incidents typically characterised by confusion and uncertainty.
The agents make it possible to access and distribute, via PC, laptop or mobile, robust, up-to-the-minute data on the developing situation.
They also help emergency services to access key background information (such as specific details on the construction of the building where an emergency is occurring), as well as helping teams to co-ordinate activities more closely, even when they are on the move.
The information agents could be in widespread use in emergency response situations within the next three years. A live implementation of the software is already running (see http://www.aladdinproject.org/situation/).
ALADDIN stands for 'Autonomous Learning Agents for Decentralised Data and Information Networks'. This £6 million programme is due to conclude next year. For more information on the full breadth of its objectives, see http://www.aladdinproject.org
The 'EnAKTing the Unbounded Data Web' initiative will carry out fundamental research into new web capability generated by Semantic Web technologies. It will also play an important role in helping to establish the new discipline of Web Science as a mainstream academic subject.
The EnAKTing project team includes Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, and Professor Dame Wendy Hall, one of the world's leading computer scientists.
Professor Nigel Shadbolt of the University of Southampton, Research Director of the Web Science Research Initiative, says: "The way the web works and the benefits it delivers in critical fields of modern life are continuing to make major strides forward."
AKT stands for 'Advanced Knowledge Technologies'.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £740 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC also actively promotes public awareness of science and engineering. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. Website address for more information on EPSRC: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/
Contact: Dan Stern
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
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