News story

Learning to trust the crowd

Case study from BMT Defence Services who pitched their ideas to industry and investors at the CDE Marketplace on 6 September 2016.

BMT

BMT Defence Services, working with Oxford University and Rescue Global, received funding from the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) to develop a way to extract actionable intelligence from a range of unstructured data sources to enhance decision making in the field.

Making the best decision in a short time is dependent on being presented with a single view of the unfolding situation with a confidence level which is derived from the wealth of uncertain data available.

This could help with a disaster response scenario, for example, where many data sources exist (satellite imagery, open source reports and professional monitoring services).

The project has shown that a crowd of volunteers can identify features (flood, damage and tarpaulin) in unstructured datasets (in this case satellite imagery) with similar performance to a group of experts. It has also shown that the machine learning algorithms can estimate the accuracy and bias of the crowd members; and by assessing that accuracy, it enables the intelligent assignment of tasks to users to reduce the time taken to produce a consolidated view.

For the next phase of work, the team will scale up and extend the current approach to produce a platform that addresses 3 key challenges; the introduction of intelligent agents alongside the crowd, automated and targeted training of both the crowd and finally management of the evolution of the information generated with a scalable and queryable provenance data store.

Simon Luck, Department Head of Information Systems, BMT Defence Services says:

CDE funding has provided us with the opportunity to deliver Research & Development activities alongside academia and non-for-profit organisations to prototype revolutionary capability.

View the pitch presentation slides.

About CDE

CDE funds novel, high-risk, high-potential-benefit research. We work with the broadest possible range of science and technology providers, including academia and small companies, to develop cost-effective capabilities for UK armed forces and national security.

CDE is part of Dstl.

Centre for Defence Enterprise

Building R103
Fermi Avenue

Harwell Oxford
Oxfordshire
OX11 0QX

Please email for the quickest response.

Published 15 August 2016