Project Albert

Important Notes!

  AFCEA's Signal Magazine interviews Dr. Gary Horne about Project Albert and Data Farming for their June 2005 issue.



The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory's Project Albert is the research and development effort whose goal is to develop the process and capabilities of Data Farming, a method to address decision-maker's questions that applies high performance computing to modeling in order to examine and understand the landscape of potential simulated outcomes, enhance intuition, find surprises and outliers, and identify potential options. Data Farming is the method by which potentially millions of data points are explored and captured. It could be considered akin to Data Mining combined with feedback which allows for the more intelligent collection of more data points. This process is made possible, in part, by the exploitation of High Performance Computing assets and methods, and the project is fully supported by the Maui High Performance Computing Center. The Project Albert modeling approach is achieved through the development of a suite of models, called Distillations, to drive home the point that these models are produced as an intentional complement to the very highly-detailed simulations being developed within the DoD, which by the very fact that they are so highly-detailed and encumbered, do not permit the examination of a very wide range of possibilities and outcomes.

By virtue of their being much easier to run and understand (think: SimCity adapted to a combat situation), they are proving to be effective tools that help capture and scientifically reproduce the ideas of Subject Matter Experts, such as those thinking about tomorrow's concepts, doctrine, and requirements. This suite of entity-based models allow for rapid and highly tailorable changes in entity characteristics and behaviors, quite amenable to, and intentionally designed for rapid, repeatable concept exploration. Project Albert develops a suite, vice a single model, to allow for the testing of robustness of observations across modeling platforms, and because each model has inherent strengths and unique capabilities with regard to each aspect of modeling how entities think, decide, shoot, move, and communicate. The Project Albert suite of models includes Map-Aware Non-Uniform Automata (MANA), Socrates, and Pythagoras. It is of note that MANA is developed by the New Zealand Defense Technology Agency, and it is used free of charge by members of the Project Albert Team. Project Albert is also harnessing existing, and developing new, methodologies for investigating the results of running such models. In this regard, a wide range of Data Exploration and Data Visualization tools and methods are being employed.

Also being developed is the concept and initial implementation of Automated Red Teaming, a methodology that helps identify how Red can beat Blue through intelligent, effective, and efficient search through the space of possibilities. This is accomplished in part through the employment of a variety of evolutionary algorithms.

Currently, Project Albert is collaborating with military decision-makers, both inside the USMC, jointly, and within coalitional arrangements, to apply these techniques and tools to real-world questions. Some examples of the work efforts can be found on the Project Albert International Workshop pages. Another example of collaboration efforts is Project Albert 's Internship and Experimental History Program. This program has employed interns from U.S. Naval Academy, Naval Postgraduate School, U.S. Military Academy, and civilian academic institutions. Experimental History describes the process of taking a historical battle of interest and recreating it in one or more of our distillations and applying the process of data farming to it to yield a set of data that address interesting what ifs. In a sense, it is akin to taking a single data point (of history) and expanding the understanding of it to a region of possibilities. Finally, initial progress is also already being made on the integration (translation of scenarios) between different models and C2 Platforms, e.g. from C2PC to one of the Project Albert models, and on the development of collaborative environments that assist in the whiteboarding and creation of scenarios and in the joint understanding of the data that results from Data Farming the scenario.

AFCEA's Signal Magazine has done an article on Project Albert and Data farming that can be found here.

Project Albert supports the DoD Command and Control Research Program (CCRP).

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