The MIMEX initiative is a Data and Information Fusion Defence Technology Centre (DIF DTC) cluster project comprising two academic partners (Cardiff University and the University of Southampton) and one industrial partner (General Dynamics UK Ltd). MIMEX aims to investigate some of the key challenges confronting military agencies in an era of effects-based operations and network-enabled capabilities. These challenges include the need to integrate information from physically disparate and semantically heterogeneous information repositories, the need to coordinate response outcomes with bodies of socio-cultural and psychological information, and the need to cope with hostile agencies that may deliberately attempt to subvert or disrupt coalition decision making. To address these challenges MIMEX countenances a solution strategy that embraces semantic integration techniques, human factors analysis, trust evaluation and cultural modelling. The operational focus area for MIMEX is the domain of stability and support operations, specifically information operations (IO). IO forms part of a spectrum of military operations which entail the exploitation of open source intelligence (OSINT), often focused on the civil, rather than the military, domain. Not only are these operations a central element of notions such as effects-based operations, they also reflect much of the operational reality of current military engagements by British Armed Forces. While traditional warfighting operations typically target effects against an enemyâs ability to fight, operations such as IO often attempt to achieve regional stability by targeting the âhearts and mindsâ of relevant social groups (i.e. those groups with sufficient power and influence to instigate or control negative events). This focuses attention on the need for enhanced cultural awareness, which is a key aspect of the ontology engineering effort for MIMEX. The aim is to develop ontologies that support culture-sensitive decision-making and enhance cultural awareness by enabling the task-specific retrieval and visualization of culture-relevant information.
Another aspect of the MIMEX research agenda concerns the development of solutions for improved situation awareness. This research aims to explore a variety of issues including knowledge-based support for task-relevant information aggregation, the use of semantic technologies to enable information fusion, and the contribution of human factors interventions to cognitively-optimal modes of information processing.
The MIMEX project also aims to undertake research to support human and machine agents with respect to information quality assessments. It is notable that information content often varies with respect to quality criteria (e.g. accuracy, relevance, usability, etc.), and this is especially the case in competitive decision-making contexts (corporate or military) where there is a strong possibility of adversarial agencies disseminating false or misleading information (not all information providers are qualified to provide information; neither are their information offerings always benign). These issues are being explored in MIMEX by investigating techniques for probabilistic and trust-based reasoning in the context of the Semantic Web.