Experimenting with a big data infrastructure for multimodal stream processing

FFI-Report 2020

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20/00480

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978-82-464-3254-0

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Audun Stolpe Bjørn Jervell Hansen Jonas Halvorsen Eirik Jensen Opland
It is an important part of the Armed Forces’ activities to monitor Norwegian land areas, the airspace, the sea and cyberspace. This surveillance supports both traditional tasks such as defending sovereignty or crisis and conflict management, as well as civil-military tasks such as rescue services and environmental preparedness. The overall response time of the Armed Forces, as well as the quality of its operational decisions, depend on the ability to perceive a situation, interpret it and understand it, that is, on the level of situational awareness. New communication technologies and the ever-increasing availability of computing power today make it possible to utilize data of a variety and volume that can significantly enrich situational awareness in the future. From a computational point of view, progress in this area depends on whether we have computational models that are able to translate data into relevant real time intelligence, and whether we are able to coordinate machine clusters that, working together, are capable of adapting to potentially very large spikes in the quantity or complexity of available information (complexity being understood as the amount of processing power it takes to convert data into actionable intelligence). In this report we take a closer look at some general properties such a machine cluster could reasonably be expected to have, as well as the matching characteristics a surveillance algorithm must have in order to exploit it efficiently. Although it is not reasonable to assume that all types of surveillance tasks and information needs can be served with identical system support, the working hypothesis in this report is that some general systemic properties will be sufficient for most cases. Examples include, loose coupling, scalability, fault tolerance and parallelizability. We do not claim to have proved or refuted this hypothesis (i.e. that some general systemic properties will be sufficient for most cases), but will be content for now to adduce some experimental evidence in support of it. In other words, the method we adopt is empirical. More specifically, we do an experimental case study of high velocity stream reasoning supported by a scalable coordinated machine cluster running a variety of software components and algorithms. The various components and algorithms will be described in more detail as we go. By stream reasoning, we shall mean the operation of turning continuously incoming data into actionable intelligence in real time. The case study, more specifically, attempts to detect illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing from a stream of AIS reports, supplemented with geographic information as well as with additional on- and offline information about ships, landing bills and more. The experiment was designed to see to what extent standard software components can be utilised to build a stream processing infrastructure meeting the identified requirements. The outcome of the experiment was a confirmation that the chosen core components essentially provided a streaming infrastructure with the desired properties, mainly due to the characteristics of the core component Apache Kafka. The main deviation was the infrastructure’s fault tolerance ability: During the experiment, further study of Kafka’s handling of network partitioning casted doubt over its ability to handle such situations. As this experiment was conducted on a robust network, the infrastructure’s tolerance for network partitioning was not tested. This is, however, an interesting avenue for further work, as network partitioning is a characteristic of tactical networks.

About publication

Report number

20/00480

ISBN

978-82-464-3254-0

Format

PDF-document

Size

4 MB

Download publication

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