Project Management

Odd Couple: Private Enterprise Paired With University Researchers

Sarah Fister Gale

The ALADDIN project proved that industry and academia make great partners—if project goals and expectations are clearly established.

ALADDIN, which stands for “Autonomous Learning Agents for Decentralised Data and Information Networks,” was a joint five-year, £6 million initiative pairing BAE Systems and the University of Southampton.

The project team’s goal was to develop technology and IT architecture that will allow multiple agents—such as the command module of a ship’s computer, the control system of an unmanned aerial vehicle or an analysis program on the lookout for suspicious online activity—to work together in a decentralized manner.

“No single information node has the whole view of a situation,” explains Simon Case, PhD, deputy director of the project and capability technology leader for data and information processing at BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre, the global engineering company based in Filton, England. “If you can combine multiple views and communicate that information, you can build a better picture of what’s going on.”

Organizations can then respond better to high-risk, high-stress scenarios. Most of the applications involve integrating new technologies into existing software.

But in some cases the project has led to the creation of new programs, such …

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"Managing senior programmers is like herding cats."

- D. Platt