The challenges of ‘big data’ for military, security and intelligence domains subject of UB workshop

Concept of big data: a tunnel or tube made up of ones and zeros.

Release Date: April 8, 2013 This content is archived.

“What has accelerated is the quantity and breadth of information, and our desire to reason over its internal interconnections. ”
Dale Walsh, principal scientist
Mitre Corporation and Army Intel Fusion SME

BUFFALO, N.Y. – According to IBM, human beings produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day and 90 percent of the data in the world today was created in the past two years. Sensors gather it from everywhere: social media sites, digital pictures and videos, security data, commercial transaction records, research in every field, cell phone GPS signals, military communications, and email records to name a few.

The result is the proliferation of “big data,” enormous data sets that most relational database management systems (Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, etc.) find difficult if not impossible to process because they require massively parallel software running on tens, hundreds or even thousands of servers.

“Ontologies for Information Integration” (OI2), an April 18 workshop at the University at Buffalo, will address non-traditional solutions to the problem of capture, curation, storage, search, sharing, analysis and visualization of big data in order to improve the interoperability of US government information.

It will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Zebro Room, NYS Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, 701 Ellicott St., Buffalo.

The event is free and open to the public but registration is required by emailing or calling Jillian Pugliese at or at 716-204-5217. The full program, speaker bios, and workshop updates are available at

The event will be of particular interest to ontologists, the intelligence and military communities, data analysts and information architects interested in awareness of and collaboration between ontology-sharing efforts in the era of big data.

“The age of information extraction, processing and analysis has begun its return to the free-text, unstructured forms that prevailed until 30 years ago,” says one of the speakers, Dale Walsh.

“What has accelerated,” he says, “is the quantity and breadth of the information, and our desire to reason over its internal interconnections. For modern goals to be achieved, a level of semantic analysis must be developed, which will need to be rooted in the use of adaptable and flexible ontological contexts.”

The workshop will be hosted by the National Center for Ontological Research (NCOR) at UB and CUBRC, Inc., which researches, develops and tests systems integration programs. It is being organized by Barry Smith, Ph.D. SUNY Distinguished Professor, UB Department of Philosophy, and the director of NCOR, and Ron Rudnicki, senior research scientist at CUBRC, and will include presentations by leading figures in ontology and military information, sharing, among them:

  • Keynote speaker: Leo J. Obrst, PhD, principal AI scientist at the MITRE Corporation: “Why Ontologies? A Perspective from Military Intelligence”
  • Keynote speaker: Gerard Christman, Ph.D., program manager, Office of the Secretary of Defense: “Horizontal Integration of Civil Information”

Discussion of ongoing projects will be presented by:

  • Col. Ronen Cohen, former director of the terror desk in the Directorate of Military Intelligence, former head of Terrorism Arena, and deputy head of the production division of the Israel Defense Forces’ Military Intelligence Directorate: "Terror and Intelligence Ontologies"
  • Barry Smith, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, University at Buffalo Julian Park Chair: "The Role of Ontology in the Era of Big (Military) Data"

Also presenting their work and research in the field will be a number of panelists who will discuss ontology and data fusion, and challenges facing “big ontology,” in relation to both technical coordination and ontology governance. Panelists who will address the ways in which ontologies are being developed to address information integration needs of large government projects in areas such as civil information and air traffic control are:

  • Dale A. Walsh, principal scientist at the MITRE Corporation and Army Intel Fusion SME (subject matter expert)
  • Moises Sudit, Ph.D., managing director, Center for Multisource Information Fusion at CUBRC, Inc. and professor, UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • James Llinas, research professor of industrial and systems engineering, UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Ron Rudnicki, adjunct instructor in library and information studies will host a panel discussion on Ontology and Data Fusion
  • Lt. Col. William S. Mandrick, Ph.D., senior ontologist for Data Tactics Corporation
  • Tatiana Malyuta, Ph.D., associate professor at New York City College of Technology, City University of New York
  • Lowell Vizenor, Ph.D., semantic technology practice lead, ALION Science and Technology

The Workshop will also review the work of the Distributed Development of a Shared Semantic Resource (DDSSR) initiative, sponsored by the US Army's Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate (I2WD).

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