The form #3 does not exist or it is not published.

Saving lives, bit by bit

Saving lives, bit by bit

Developing new methods for distributed intelligent systems to share and analyse digital information was a huge academic challenge – and its solution might save lives.

This is Oxford Universitiy's account of the ground-breaking ALADDIN project which included the University of Southampton, Imperial College London and the University of Bristol. Find out more.

ALADDIN, or Autonomous Learning Agents for Decentralised Data and Information Networks, was an ambitious five-year project which brought together leaders in information processing to work closely with industry. Oxford’s contribution came from Professor Stephen Roberts’ Pattern Analysis and Machine Learning Research Group who, alongside BAE Systems and researchers from other UK universities, merged strands of information engineering that had never been combined before.

One major focus of the project was disaster management, a real-world problem where there is an urgent need to co-ordinate activities in the face of great uncertainty: from allocating emergency services to finding the best escape routes. The challenge was how to take swathes of data available in these situations and use it in some way on the ground, in real time, to provide the best outcome.

To do that required a combination of game theory, probabilistic modelling and optimisation techniques to make the most effective use of all the available data. The team from Oxford took a crucial role in the project, working on how to combine and share around the network the data from vast numbers of sensors – a process they refer to as data fusion, and one that is used across the entire project.

The project saw the researchers develop intelligent ways  to form and deploy the most effective rescue teams and dynamic systems for evacuating buildings that always provide the safest escape option, amongst others. They also developed ways to overcome problems of faulty sensors, system delays and disrupted communication, while still achieving the desired results.

The collaboration ran from 2005–10, producing more than 150 publications, winning The Engineer’s Award for Aerospace and Defence in 2009, and generating three joint patents held between BAE systems and the University of Oxford.

The research has even spawned another five-year research program, called ORCHID. The project, funded by EPSRC and BAE Systems with over £10 million, aims to utilise humans as extra ‘computational cores’, by providing them with appropriate and  timely information,  to improve the human contribution to areas as diverse as disaster management, energy conservation and crowd-sourced citizen science.

This work was carried out in collaboration with the University of Southampton, Imperial College London and the University of Bristol.

It was funded by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and BAE Systems.

Do you have a case study to share? Please get in touch through the form below:

Expand for more
Oxford University Innovation Incubator relaunches with new startup offer

The Oxford University Innovation (OUI) Incubator has relaunched with a new deal on equity and access to finance for Oxford University startups.

Improving the lives of people with diabetes

The Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford has the potential to substantially impact future treatment of type 2 diabetes and its complications.

Securing the internet of the future

As the internet continues to grow rapidly, guaranteeing our security online becomes more and more critical.

Creating the tools for tomorrow's researchers

Sir Martin Wood founded Oxford Instruments in 1959 as a spin-out company to manufacture superconducting magnets for research. See what they're working on today.

Enigmma variations

The overall objective of the programme, which is implemented jointly by a number of organisations, is to enhance the capacities of Georgian authorities.

Max Roser’s ever-changing world

In June 2014, Dr Max Roser made this ground-breaking publication available online, having worked on it since 2011.

Supporting the nation’s auditors

This long-standing relationship has not only benefited the NAO, but has indirectly contributed to saving taxpayers’ money.

Building bildr

bildr, a mobile phone app, is a product created by the Frameworks project that helps Oxford graduate students and staff track how their career is developing.

GSK leads Open Access Research Partnership

The Structural Genomics Consortium (SCG) at the University of Oxford undertakes research to find the building blocks for the discovery of new drugs. A collaboration between universities, government bodies and industrial partners led by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the SGC has had remarkable success in mapping human proteins. An Open Access policy means that the results of the SGC’s research are freely available to all.

Man AHL and the University of Oxford launch centre for machine learning

The Oxford-Man Institute, founded in 2007 as an innovative collaboration between the University of Oxford and Man Group, to become part of the Department of Engineering Science focused on machine learning

Thames Valley Country House Partnership

Thanks to a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the National Trust and the University of Oxford, visitors to Trust properties in London and the South East will have richer, more engaging experiences.

Oxford spinout uses machine learning to solve the toughest problems

Deriving insights from huge chunks of data has come on at quite apace in recent years, with projects able to detect everything from oil prices to terrorist threats by wading through big data.

Researchers team up on robotic eye surgery

Oxford researchers team up with Dutch company Preceyes to work on robotic eye surgeons

Impact: Using mathematics research in glass-making

Equations devised at the University of Oxford underpin modelling software used by market-leading glass companies, helping them to produce flawless products from a substance which is difficult to control.

New collaboration to discover protein biomarkers

Oxford and SomaLogic team up to work on new approaches to discovering and classifying protein biomarkers

Oxford research brings to light business energy use

WICKED aims to help UK retailers cut their energy consumption and save money as many retailers are not actively 'managing' how much energy they use.

Rolls Royce and Oxford create greener jet engines

Lighter, faster, more environmentally friendly jet engines are being created as the result of a collaboration between researchers and engineers

Saving lives, bit by bit

Developing new methods for distributed intelligent systems to share and analyse digital information was a huge academic challenge – and its solution might save lives.

Bright future for next-generation local electricity networks

Britain is heading to a low carbon future: by 2050, the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by at least 80% compared to 1990 levels.