This book had its origin at the Second International Ontology for the Intelligence Community (OIC) Conference, which was held on November 28–29, 2007, in Columbia, MD, USA. At that time, a volume was proposed by the editors that would feature chapters by selected authors from the conference, who could extend their OIC papers or write on related topics that fit the guidelines the editors established for this book. In addition, other authors were invited to submit chapters.
This book represents a partial technology roadmap for government information technology decision makers for information integration and sharing, and situational awareness (improved analysis support) in the use of ontologies, and semantic technologies for intelligence.
The general themes of both the OIC conferences and this book focus on intelligence community needs and the applications of ontologies and semantic technologies to assist those needs. Among the very many IC needs are the following:
•To increase the ability to meaningfully share information, within and among communities, across humans and machines
•To off-load some human cognitive functions and enable machines to assume these. By using ontologies and semantic technologies, machines come up to the human conceptual level, rather than humans having to go down to the machine level, which latter tack has largely defined information technology since its orgins up to this point.
•To increase the ability to automate some aspects of intelligence analysis, as for example, by supporting evidence-based reasoning, deductive (what logically follows, given the knowledge) and abductive (what is the best explanation, given the evidence) queries
•To provide assistance on probability of Hypothesis given the Evidence P(H|E), hypothesis generation, and analysis of competing hypotheses by using complex knowledge and logical mechanisms, and evaluating the consequences or ramifications of hypotheses
•To increase the capability to semantically integrate data from all intelligence disciplines
•To provide analytical tools that exploit the availability of semantically integrated information and knowledge
•To assist in semantic disambiguation, reference, co-reference/correlation of entities, relations, and events
○Disambiguation: To determine the appropriate meaning for the given context
○Reference: To determine the actual entity in the world that the data refers to
○Co-reference/correlation: To determine whether two entities are actually the same entity, and the properties and events those entities respectively possess and participate in
•To support reasoning over geospatial, temporal, and other data to infer additional information about the real world.
The target audience of this book is the US and other intelligence communities (IC), including law enforcement and homeland security communities, along with other technical and budgetary decision makers and technologists working in intelligence. These technologists include ontologists and ontology developers, computer scientists, software engineers, and intelligence analysts who have a strong interest in semantic technologies and their applications.
This book would not have been possible without the assistance, dedication, and patience of many generous individuals. We thank the IOS Press publisher and its dedicated representive Maarten Fröhlich for tolerance of delays in the editing of this book, while also providing constant and continuing encouragement. We thank the very many anonymous reviewers who helped improve the contributions of the authors by offering sound feedback and critical comments on multiple iterations of chapters. We thank the past organizers of the OIC conferences, for valuable suggestions and help on many issues, including in particular Barry Smith, Kathryn Blackmond Laskey, Duminda Wijesekera, and Paulo Cesar G. da Costa. We also thank Kevin Lynch and David Roberts, who provided governmental support for the OIC conferences and also feedback to the authors and editors on the impact of these technologies on the intelligence community, thereby serving to provide a pragmatic perspective to constrain the potential technological exuberance. Of course the editors also thank their friends and families, who have countenanced aggravation, missed social opportunities, and personal inattention, to enable the writing and editing of this volume.
Finally, we underscore that the views expressed in this book are those of the authors alone and do not reflect the official policy or position of The MITRE Corporation, the Lockheed-Martin Corporation, or any other company or individual, nor that of any particular intelligence community, agency, organization, or government.