AFRL awards contracts to Aptima to extend information fusion system for intelligence analysts
Aptima, Inc., based in Woburn, MA, announced on August 22 that the Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded the company two contracts totaling $667,000 to extend TID-BIT, an information fusion system that integrates data from multiple sources, enabling intelligence analysts to perform rapid and accurate situation assessments.
Intelligence analysts across the Department of Defense are presented with an overwhelming amount of traditional (“hard”) and non-traditional (“soft”) information sources, from government-trusted sources and sensor technologies, to open-source channels including Facebook, Twitter, and individual and multi-author blogs. Originally funded by AFRL/RIED under the Small Business Initiative Research (SBIR) program, TID-BIT allows analysts to focus more time on analysis activities and less on manual search and data management tasks by automating the extraction of information from unstructured sources, and integrating information from hard and soft sources.
Filling in the intelligence blanks when only “soft” information is available
Today’s battlefields are shifting to “anti-access” and “denied” areas, where the use of U.S. Military air and ground assets is limited. While the current version of TID-BIT addresses the challenges of too much information for analysts to work with, TID-BIT Phase II and TID-BIT Phase III will concurrently tackle the challenge of supporting analysts when there isn’t enough information.
To enable accurate automated target and activity recognition in anti-access areas of denial (A2AD), Aptima is working with AFRL to extend the TID-BIT system to help analysts complete the knowledge gaps in those situations in which traditional sensing sources aren’t available and analysts are dependent on open source intelligence. Based on a “who said what” extraction and analysis of the unstructured information, TID-BIT will be able to provide analysts the ability to explore the source attribution of a piece of information and assess the reliability of the source, the information credibility, and certainty.
“Trying to infer information when there is an absence of hard data, analysts are forced to fill in the blanks,” said Charlotte Shabarekh, Aptima’s director of analytics, modeling and simulation. “TID-BIT’s enhancements will provide automated support when analysts don’t have a lot of data but still need to get knowledge out of it.”
Aptima is also adding a new layer of visualization to TIDBIT. Regardless of whether there is too much or too little data, TID-BIT will not only extract patterns for presentation to the user, but will intuitively present that information, cueing the analyst’s attention to the most interesting, anomalous and important pieces of information generated.
This is the second SBIR Phase II contract to be awarded to Aptima, Inc. for development of the TID-BIT technology. Under the TID-BIT Phase III contract, which constitutes the commercialization phase of the technology, Aptima will also be integrating the system with AFRL’s Multi-INT Enhanced Exploitation and Analysis Tools (E2AT) program architecture.