New Edge-Analytics Tech the Source of a Government Grant

On the front lines, getting critical information to soldiers quickly may be essential to a successful mission, or even their survival.

New Florida Tech research is harnessing powerful new cloud-based technology to allow the military to better protect soldiers through enhanced situational awareness about sounds and other environmental elements around them.

Florida Tech’s Center for Advanced Data Analytics and Systems (CADAS) has been awarded a $2.3 million contract from the U.S. Air Force, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The funding is associated with the Multi-Sensor Exploitation for Tactical Autonomy Broad Agency Announcement.

Computer engineering and sciences associate professor Adrian Peter is the primary investigator. Co-principal investigators are Anthony Smith, Carlos Otero, Luis Otero and Georgios Anagnostopoulos, all Florida Tech associate professors in computer engineering and sciences. The team’s proposal, “Multi-domain, Multi-sensor, Cyber-physical Tactical Exploitation (M2CTE),” addresses a critical need for building a robust analytic processing framework capable of supporting autonomous sensing and analytics on the front line that has the ability to utilize cloud-based computing for enhanced analysis and machine-learning model improvement.

Some of the challenges with creating this level of technology involve the machine learning and cloud components of the technology doing the work after the data is captured. Out in the field, a device hardware’s processing power is not as robust as a personal computer, and this leads to limitations on what algorithms can be used. There is also the coordination aspect to be factored in with the technology, as bandwidth issues may arise in the field, and the lack of reliable network connectivity. To assist with those issues, an emphasis on the software’s cloud component has been a key focus of this new research. By creating a supporting cloud infrastructure, new concepts of operations can be explored, allowing powerful models to be trained in the cloud and then optimized to deploy at the edge.

This project builds on research the team has conducted on autonomous sensing technologies, which give the user instant feedback about the sounds around them so they can make quick decisions. The team also has used edge analytics outside of the military sector with a university-developed app that can decipher different types of office sounds and lets people know what is going on around them.

The technology the team is working on may have civilian use as well, providing indicators and alerts based on real-time sensing of a user’s surroundings. An example of this could be an app that runs on your phone and immediately alerts you if there are threating environmental sounds such as gunfire, or a sensor installed as part of your home’s alarm system to that can monitor for threatening sounds.

Carlos Otero noted the importance of winning the funding award, as it will allow the team to cover various areas of data analysis and edge computing with their research and continue to provide hands-on educational experiences for students.

“We’re here to prepare the next generation of scholars at Florida Tech, and winning this grant helps us with that goal,” he said.

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