Applying semantic web concepts to support Net-Centric Warfare using the Tactical Assessment Markup Language (TAML)
Childers, Candace M.
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The ability to analyze data quickly and transform it into important information is vital for information superiority. However, the amount of available data is increasing and the time to make decisions is decreasing. There is too much data for humans to sift through and filter for decision making, so computer automation is necessary. The current approach to automating data processing is to hard-code programs to parse particular data formats, but this approach is not flexible enough to handle the constantly changing data world. The Extensible Markup Language (XML) offers a partial solution by providing a syntactic standard for data exchange. The Tactical Assessment Markup Language (TAML) is an XML vocabulary for exchanging undersea warfare tactical data that provides a standard syntax for message exchange. However, the meaning or semantics of the data is unknown to the machine processing the data. The Semantic Web is a set of technologies designed to add semantic information to data for machine processing. The technologies consist of several components including a common syntax for data exchange, common semantic representation, and a common ontology language. The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is used to explicitly state the relationships between resources or entities. The Web Ontology Language (OWL) is used to build models that explicitly define the concepts and properties in a domain. Since concept definitions are written in standard languages, a variety of reasoning engines might be used to process any ontology and its corresponding data instances. Reasoning engines can also apply algorithms to the data to infer useful information and present it to decision makers. Thus there is far less need for specialty hard-coded programs or proprietary data-representation schemes to hold semantic information, since the information needed to process data is captured in an OWL ontology, itself stored in XML format for exchange between systems. Building ontologies for specific domains such as undersea warfare allows programs to understand, process, and infer new information from coherent data. Applying Semantic Web technologies to XML languages such as TAML brings the armed forces closer to a knowledge-aware Global Information Grid (GIG).
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