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With the advent of various sensor technologies and tactical

communication networks, the earlier problem of ‘fog of war’ has

been transformed into one of information overloaded. In this paper

we review certain key technologies that will enable commanders to

effectively deal with the incoming data in order to make optimal and

timely decisions. The critical role of AI in the defence sector would

be to provide an infrastructure that accommodates a variety of

information and a wide spectrum of functionality that supports

continual extension and evolution.

In the digital battlefield scenario, usage of sensors has

dramatically increased the data available to commanders and their

staff. The data often is unfiltered. A commander’s lack of

information required him to make critical decisions under conditions

of uncertainty. As a result, unless appropriate technology is put in

place so that the data is stored or filtered in a manner consistent

with the information requirements of the commanders, decision

making will still be required to be done with less than perfect


An ability to deploy the correct mix of these technologies will

be the key to success in futuristic digital battlefields. The field of

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artificial intelligence has as its long term goals the development of

machines and systems that can emulate human behaviour.

Consequently, when decisions have to be made instantly, taking into

account an enormous amount of data, AI can provide crucial


In this paper we touch upon some of the key AI technologies

that will play a critical role in current and future defence



Rapid advances in digital technology have made capturing and

storing of digitalized data easy and inexpensive. The revolution in

data acquisition technologies has vastly affected the way we

communicate, the way we learn, conduct business, and the way we

make war.

The Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz first

coined the phrase “the fog of war”, referring to unknown

information regarding the battlefield. Military planners and

strategists consider access to quick and accurate information a key

to victory on the battlefield. The microchip miracle holds the

promise of rapid processing of large amounts of data that will help

armies see through the “fog” of the 21st century battlefield.

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One of the most successful applications of AI reasoning

techniques using facts and rules has been in building expert systems.

An expert system also known as a knowledge-based system is a

model that captures knowledge from an expert in some specialised,

narrow domain. This is formally known as the “Knowledge Base”.

This system includes a procedure, formally called the inference

engine, capable of operating on the stored knowledge in order to

assist individuals solve problems in a specific domain. An expert

system hence makes available the expertise and decision making

ability of an expert in a particular field to any generic individual. A

good expert system also has an inbuilt ability to explain conclusions

in a way that users can understand. The defence services can benefit

from this paradigm since it helps preserve knowledge

• It allows for wider accessibility to expertise when it is scarce,

expensive or may potentially become unavailable with time.

• It can remind an experienced decision maker of options or issues

to consider, and to help a new manager make a complex decision.

• It can effectively facilitate training.

There are several Expert System tools available in the public

domain. One such is CLIPS, an expert system tool developed by the

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Software Technology Branch (STB) NASA/Lyndon B Johnson Space

Center. There are three ways to represent knowledge in CLIPS:

1. Rules which are primarily intended for heuristic knowledge based

on experience.

2. Deffunctions and generic functions, which are primarily intended

procedural knowledge.

3. Object - oriented programming, also primarily intended for

procedural knowledge. The five generally accepted features of

object – oriented programming are supported: classes, message –

handlers, abstraction, encapsulation, inheritance, polymorphism.

Rules may pattern match on objects and facts.

One can develop software using only rules, only objects, or a

mixture of objects and rules. CLIPS is an acronym for C Language

Integrated Production System and has been design for full

integration with other languages such as C and ADA. In addition to

being used as a stand - alone tool, CLIPS can be called form a

procedural language, perform its function, and then return control

back to the calling program. Similarly, procedural code can be

defined as external functions and called from CLIPS. The shell has

been designed to facilitate development of embedded expert systems.

Expert systems designed using this shell can be important sub-

systems of larger Decision Support Systems (DSS).

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Nipuna is an expert system shell developed at CAIR. The

knowledge representation scheme is rule based (the “If – Then?”)

variety and hence is versatile. The inferencing strategy is powerful.

The inferencing strategy is based on the Davis – Putnam algorithm

which employs resolution based inferencing. The implementation of

the Davis – Putnam algorithm in Nipuna can handle non-Horn

clauses as well. Clauses allow Boolean, numerical and string (for

Multi – valued logic) type of parameters. The non –Horn clauses are

converted to Horn – clauses and then fed to the inference engine.

This algorithm has been further enhanced to incorporate the

following features.

Incremental Inferencing

The inference engine incorporates incremental inferencing.

This is an improvement on the classical Davis – Putnam algorithm

where in the number of clauses in the search space is progressively

reduced. This speeds up the inferencing process.


The algorithm has been extended to enquire about the truth

value of particular literals. This capability can be exploited to

augment the systems capability for temporal reasoning.

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Cross – Referencing

The knowledge representation for inferencing also facilitates

cross – referencing. This facilitates debugging and traceability of

the knowledge base.


Being informed about the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses is

critical and the importance of intelligence information to the

military cannot be over – emphasized. Good intelligence provides a

proactive ability, enabling the forces to shape, prevent, preempt

situations rather than react to them. Right information and properly

analysed summaries of this information not only describes recent

activities but also help in predicting likely future actions. The

military depends on teams of analysts to scrutinize, collate and

format operational information and enter it into a database enabling

efficient information dissemination. Natural Language Processing

combined with Semantic Web technologies can be used to make this

process more efficient and accurate.

Information has Grid Ref Check

InstanceOf from Location City#2

6 Inf Div
Movement#1 City#1 instance of
Has Activity Movement#1
Located at
Movement#1 City#2 TrugCod
To Location City#2

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Has farility NBC

Graph representation of the sentences.

City#1 Training Command

From location location at Qxxx

Has GridRef
6 Inf Div has activity to location
instanceOf Movement#1

Formation NBC

Graph merged at nodes City#2 and Movement#1

The World Wide Web (www) is a global network of hyper-

linked information. Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) upon

which the www is based can only format information into

paragraphs, tables, hyperlinks, etc. The www as of today, describes

only the syntax of the information and not the semantics. Although,

the www is a mammoth repository of information its potential is

hugely diminished because the data is stored in a manner that cannot

be readily understood by the computer. As a result information

retrieval is restricted to heuristics depending on string matches

between the query and the target document. The Semantic Web,

conceived by Tim Berners – Lee, is an attempt to arrive at methods

and standards that enable data to be stored in a machine

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understandable format so that the web can evolve into a powerful,

globally linked database.

CAIR is acquiring expertise in Natural Language Processing

and Semantic Web technologies keeping in mind the requirements of

the Defence Sector. In a prototype system being built, a Semantic

Web – based knowledge base is integrated with an Information

Extraction Oriented Natural Language Processing System. The

prototype is being built using open source tools, such as the General

Architecture for Text Engineering (GATE), Sesame, a Resource

Development Framework (RDF) repository coupled with some

modules added for enhanced reasoning capability.

The prototype can be broadly viewed as consisting of two

modules – the Natural Language Processing Module and the

Semantic Web module. The NLP module performs a sequence of

processing tasks such as tokenizing, gazetteer lookup, Named Entity

(NE) recognition to extract the named entities like persons, cities,

time, etc, Noun and Verb group chunking, subject and object

identification. The primary function of the NLP part is to identify

the entities, viz, persons, locations, dates, organizations, etc

involved in the sentence. The output of the NLP part is converted

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into a DAML instance, which is then stored in the repository. The

contents of the repository can be accessed using the query or

reasoning interface as required.

The working of the prototype can be illustrated using the

following representative example. Consider the following assertions.

(City # 1 and City # 2 are names of two cities)

• 10 inf div moved from City # 1 to City # 2.

• Training Command is located in City # 2.

• City # 2 has NBC weapons.

• City # 2 has grid reference Qxxx.

After processing the above sentence, we obtain the graphs.

It is possible to merge these on common notes to obtain a composite

graph. This graph can now be used to collate information. The

information can be dynamically read out from this representation

depending on user needs and interests.

It is also evident that the graphs need not be generated at the

same time, or be obtained from the same input set. The availability

of more information enables building more complex graphs.


A Decision Support System (DSS) is an interactive computer -

based system intended to help managers (in our context commanders

and staff officers) make decisions. Various types of DSS help

managers answer questions relevant to a decision. For example, a

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commander may simply query a database to ask questions such as

what is the strength of resources of a particular variety in a

particular location, or it might be a more sophisticated query like

how much time do I need to move certain resources from position X

to position Y, or an even more complex, higher level query – Is my

contingency plan adequate?

Typically DSS have a defined purpose and the subjects or

topics covered in the DSS database, the variables included, the time

series of data available and the tools for retrieving and analyzing

data determine the questions we can actually ask and the decision

relevant information that we can create. It is important to

acknowledge that a DSS should necessarily incorporate a wide range

of tools and functionality. This is because, decision makers can

sometimes benefit greatly from rapidly retrieving a single fact or

benefit from being able to perform a simple ad hoc data analysis. On

the other hand, support for operational decision making or support

for more strategic and long-term decision making and problem

solving are also critical. This implies that tools ranging from simple

spreadsheets and databases to state-of-art AI paradigms like rules

based expert systems and neural network based learning systems,

need to be included in the scope of DSS. An immediate and obvious

consequence of this observation is a fact that the development of

DSS has to be attempted in a multipronged fashion.

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n n
t t
DSS e Interface e AI
Framework r Adaptor r subsystem
f f
a a
c c
e e


Figure: Schematic description for design philosophy of DSS Framework

CAIR is in the process of developing a generic framework for

building Decision Support Systems. The schematic in the figure

outlines the general design philosophy. The emphasis is on

changeability and extensibility. As AI techniques evolve, it will be

essential to replace solutions based on AI tools and mechanisms,

already in the systems, by new ones. Also, as research in the field

progresses, one might want to extend the framework itself to enable

participation of latest technologies.

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The advent of computers, new sensor technology and other

sources of information on the battlefield has created voluminous

quantity and diversity of data. This has made it very difficult to

provide decision makers with the right information, at the right time

in the required detail and format. Early interest in AI was motivated

by the idea that computers should do what human experts can do,

only less expensively. However, currently the emphasis has shifted

to evolving and using AI technologies that people, even experts,

cannot do alone. AI technologies are being implemented as

important modules in main stream computing systems to create

strategic advantage with human users as important contributors to

the total solution. The critical role of AI in the defence sector would

be to provide an infrastructure that accommodates a variety of

information and a wide spectrum of functionality, that supports

continual extension and evolution. It is obvious that there is no

“Golden Bullet” solution. New technical ideas, with labels such as

intelligent agents, DSS, neural nets, genetic algorithms, NLP and

semantic web technologies will have to be combined with older

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ideas, such as spreadsheets and expert systems, to form a powerful



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