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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L026015/1
Title: A Situation-Aware Information Infrastructure
Principal Investigator: Hutchison, Professor D
Other Investigators:
Pezaros, Dr D Jose, Professor JM Mauthe, Dr AU
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
EADS JANET UK NATS Ltd
Solarflare Communications
Department: Computing & Communications
Organisation: Lancaster University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 February 2015 Ends: 31 December 2017 Value (£): 758,299
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Information & Knowledge Mgmt Networks & Distributed Systems
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 May 2014 1TI3 Full Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Resilience is a vital property of communications systems and unified ICT environments, and is achieved mainly by infrastructural redundancy, and static security and network control (e.g., through multipath routing protocols, signature-based intrusion detection systems). This results in mostly monolithic solutions that are service and location-specific, and they protect the infrastructure against a static and well-defined set of threats. However, current approaches do not incorporate, nor do they take advantage of, the wealth of spatio-temporal information available in today's ICT environments, such as sensing, logs, packet data, or external global media feeds. Such diverse data and information sources from heterogeneous environments unified over ICT infrastructures can be exploited to create situation awareness, and can help protect the infrastructure from a range of dynamic and emerging adversarial events (e.g., from new types of failures due to complexity and centralisation, to denial of service attacks and natural disasters) that current static approaches fail to provide [1][2][3].

At the same time, today's ICT environments are evolving as crucial, mission-critical socio-economic systems, and their optimal performance depends on adaptive and intelligent schemes to ensure resilient operation at the onset of legitimate or malicious adversarial events. In order to realise this aim, there needs to be a suitable instrumentation, measurement, analysis, and control infrastructure that will operate natively with, and add intelligence to, the unified networked environment.



In this project, we propose to design and develop a generic, resilient and adaptive situation-aware information infrastructure that would predict and confront the broad range of challenges faced by the network. We aim to provide novel and practical mechanisms that will enable a deeper understanding of the dynamic and non-stationary evolution of mission-critical systems through harnessing 'big data' sets of relevant internal (monitored) and external (global media feeds) spatio-temporal information - what we call 'context'. Our mechanisms will be incorporated as a protocol suite within a Software-Defined architecture, integrated as a native component in (future) computer networks design. This project is not simply aiming at integrating off-the-shelf solutions into a unified scheme, but rather to revisit the resilience challenge in mission-critical ICT environments and contribute new solutions to the information processing, algorithmic, networking and systems aspects of such undertakings.

The research will be carried out over two years jointly at the Universities of Lancaster and Glasgow, involving investigators with a wide range of expertise (from resilient and autonomic communications, through network instrumentation and management, to information retrieval) and in collaboration with a number of leading industrial partners in the areas of safety-critical systems (NATS), industrial control networks (EADS-IW), and hardware-accelerated custom computation products (Solarflare). This consortium will ensure delivery of excellent research results with direct industrial applicability and transformative effects on future intelligent mission-critical infrastructures.

[1]. Windows Azure service interruption:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2012/08/02/root-cause-analysis-for-recent-windows-azure-service-interruption-in-western-europe.aspx

[2]. Air Traffic Management system malfunction at Dublin Airport:

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9110319/Dublin_Airport_radar_system_brought_down_by_faulty_network_card

[3]. Power outage hits London Data Centre:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/10/data_centre_power_cut/

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Organisation Website: http://www.lancs.ac.uk