Coalition Search and Rescue - Task Support (CoSAR-TS)


Scope: The use and comparative study of shared activity representations for domain and task management in coordinated command and control - with an application to C2 Search and Rescue in a multi-national coalition setting and with transfer of results to related programs. [Revised: 20-Aug-2002]


PI: Prof. Austin Tate, AIAI, University of Edinburgh

Co-PI: Dr. Jeff Bradshaw, IHMC, University of West Florida

DAML Program Liaison: Dr. John Flynn, BBN Technologies


Research Team at AIAI:

Dr. Stuart Aitken (DAML and RKF Program Liaison and Ontology Re-use)

Mr. Jeff Dalton (I-X Systems and Demonstration Development)


Keywords: Coalition; Command and Control; Search and Rescue; Ontology Re-use; Agent Domain Management; Task, Process, Event and Activity Management; Collaboration; Evaluation; Transition.


Pronunciation: CoSAR-TS is pronounced “co-sar-tee-ess”.


C2SAR Scenario




























The chosen C2SAR scenario involves two different downed airman situations – one on land and one in the sea – set in the context of the TTCP/CoAX Binni scenario on the day following the events of the CoAX Binni 2002 scenario.
Summary of Initial DAML Program Supported Work


This specific proposal is a part of a larger proposed work effort for this research theme, designed to fit within limits of proposed funding from the DARPA DAML Program for AIAI at the University of Edinburgh of $140K in FY03, $85K in FY04 and $36.5K in FY05 and for IHMC at the University of West Florida of $60K in FY03, $34.5K in FY04 and $14.5K in FY05.  The AIAI element of the proposed work is described in this document. The IHMC work is described separately.


Prof. Austin Tate and his colleagues at the University of Edinburgh, Mr. Jeff Dalton and Dr. Stuart Aitken will lead the work with the cooperation of Dr. Jeff Bradshaw and a support programmer at IHMC and with input and guidance concerning the DAML work from Dr. John Flynn at BBN.


Initially, this work will concentrate on forging links between current work on the DAML and DAML-S projects within the DARPA program, and linking these effectively to emerging concepts in coalition and collaborative settings from joint work at AIAI at the University of Edinburgh and IHMC at the University of West Florida. Year 1 research is the focus of the work plan given here.  Year 2 and year 3 are provided as outline plans only since at this stage since limited funds are allocated – though these, in themselves, are sufficient to ensure that Austin Tate and Jeff Bradshaw can continue to interact and exchange research concepts and communicate those within the DAML program and its meetings.




COSAR-TS is a project to link domain and task management agents with human agents to allow for a common shared “intelligible” model of tasks, processes, organisational structure, capabilities, agent status and presence, conversation policies, authorities and obligations and to explore this in a realistic application.  Features of the work are the re-use of suitable ontologies to act as the basis for this work, feedback to the contributing research communities and feed forward into a number of programs interested in the results.


I-X Process Panels (I-P2) are used as the basis for this work.  When fully developed, they will provide tools and user interfaces to aid collaboration between a wide variety and large number of individuals, group participants and organizational entities in a way that allows them to cooperate, in a task-driven way, via the sharing and exchange of issues, activities, processes, constraints, reports and messages. They utilise a shared model of these entities which is intelligible to all participants. The context for any panel (it's "I-Space") can be dynamically configured to reflect the changing status of agents, domains in which they function, inter-agent authorities and policies.  I-X Process Panels can function even when given limited knowledge.  They can act anywhere in a continuum from tracking fully manually driven activity to initiating fully autonomous activity where permitted.  They can allow for seamless integration of intelligent planning and dynamically responsive workflow determination and execution technologies to assist in the process of responding flexibly to emerging tasks and a changing environment as available capabilities and resources alter.





Outline of Research


The research plan is to explore the synergies between work at AIAI on I-X technology ( for tasks, processes, collaboration, agent status and presence, workflow and activity management and the UWF/IHMC KAoS approach to agent domain management along with policies to govern their interaction.  The area of overlap is the use of a shared or common description of tasks, processes and activities and the related knowledge associated with these.


For some time Austin Tate and Jeff Bradshaw, working together as PIs on the CoAX project ( funded by the DARPA CoABS program, have discussed the areas in which synergy and links to emerging standards and ontologies to describe activity and capabilities can be made. However, the pace of demonstration development and transition work on CoAX has not allowed this to be further developed to date. 


Both Austin Tate and Jeff Bradshaw and their teams appreciate realistic applied scenarios that are close to the interests of those with whom they wish to communicate and transfer their results.  So having the SPAWAR generated C²SAR application and  likely interests at AFRL, NWDC and USPACOM has provided a welcome spur to this proposal.


Austin Tate has also been closely involved in the development of the emerging standards for process and plan representation and has been a member of or led many of the groups that have created the initial offerings now moving towards international standardization (e.g. PIF, NIST PSL, SPAR).  He and his team have been involved in comparative evaluation studies with DARPA, NIST and others of dozens of different candidate representations and ontologies in this research.


John Levine is a specialist in evaluation methodologies and will lead the effort in this area for the project.  He is a member of the current I-X project team, led scenario development on a US Army Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) project and is a specialist in evaluation techniques. [John Levine will not be funded as part of the DAML initial funding element]


Stuart Aitken is currently the Edinburgh Co-PI on a project for the DARPA/RKF program working with CycCorp on including process and plan related representations and reasoning capabilities into Cyc. He will act as the link to DAML and RKF programs through involvement in the comparative studies, capability description and ontology re-use work in the proposed project.


Jeff Dalton (an US citizen) and Jussi Stader are the principal system developers for the I-X systems at AIAI, which will provide the technical basis for the demonstrations and developments directed at addressing the demonstration scenarios. [Jussi Stader will not be funded as part of the DSAML initial funding element]


Stuart Aitken and Austin Tate are also involved in the OntoWeb network of excellence and Austin leads its working group on semantic web content standards for business processes ( - a group that includes DAML-S representation.


Work with DARPA to date, on the DARPA/Rome Lab. Planning Initiative and then the CoABS program, has provided a platform that has allowed Austin Tate to engage in other large-scale projects and for these to be effectively coordinated to gain rich international research cooperation.  This cooperation is planned to continue within the current proposed project.


Complementary Areas for Ontologies and their (Re-)use


The representation of tasks, processes, agent organisational structure, capabilities, conversation policies, authorities and obligations are not areas where the current DAML program effort is focussed, though that is now changing as DAML-S and other capability description work comes on stream.  But, of course, these areas are fundamentally important to any performative system. Hence the work suggested both complements the current work on DAML/RKF, and provides a setting for realistic use and directive feedback for those engaged on developing the currently emerging suggestions from DAML/RKF.


I-X Technology and its Relevance


We will be building on the DARPA CoABS program funded work on I-X Intelligent Process Panels and their underlying <I-N-C-A> (Issues, Nodes, Constraints and Annotations) constraint-based ontology for describing processes and products ( The process panels provide a simple interface that acts as an intelligent “to do” list that is based on the handling of issues, the performance of activity or the addition of constraints. It also supports semantically task directed “augmented” messaging and reporting between panel users. It can provide links to agent relationship management and visualization of agent presence, status or availability. A common ontology of processes and process or collaboration products based on constraints on the collaborative activity or on the alternative products being created via the collaboration is the heart of this research. We envisage the creation of a library of process models to support the issues, options and constraints associated with common types of meeting.


The majority of the further development of the I-X technology for task and activity management is funded elsewhere and the currently proposed project is mostly intended to draw on these results to refine and communicate the concepts and techniques in a realistic and interesting scenario.


KAoS Technology and its Relevance


KAoS is a collection of componentized agent services compatible with several popular agent frameworks, including the DARPA CoABS Grid, DARPA the ALP/Ultra*Log Cougaar framework, and Objectspace Voyager. The adaptability of KAoS is due in large part to its pluggable infrastructure based on Sun’s Java Agent Services (JAS) ( The key services relevant to the effort described in this proposal include:


·        Policy services, to define, manage, and enforce constraints assuring coherent, safe, effective, and natural interaction among teams of human and agents. Knowledge is represented in a set of extensible DAML+OIL ontologies relating to actors, actions (including complex actions such as conversations), targets, policies, and places. In collaboration with Pat Hayes and James Allen of UWF/IHMC we are currently exploring the relationship of KAoS Policy ontologies with DAML-S and DAML-Time.

·        Domain services, also represented in DAML, to facilitate structuring and inference about agents belonging to complex organizational structures, administrative groups, and task-oriented teams. Domains also provide a common point of administration and policy enforcement.


Many of the KAoS concepts and technologies have benefited from previous collaborations with Austin Tate’s group in Edinburgh within the CoAX and KSCO initiatives. There is tremendous synergy with their work on task and activity management of both practical and research significance. The further development of the KAoS technology for domain management is funded elsewhere and the currently proposed project is intended to draw on these results to refine and communicate the concepts and techniques in a realistic and interesting scenario.


DAML and RKF Ontologies and their Relevance


The requirement to share plan and process knowledge arises as soon as we consider two or more computational agents, e.g. planning and scheduling systems, or consider the need for human-computer interaction. Reaching a consensus on the basic elements of a plan representation has been more difficult than for other areas where generic ontologies have been developed. During the development of the Process Specification Language (PSL) (Schlenoff, 1999)  many previous plan formalisms were considered, and this language is in the process of standardization. However, PSL has not yet been widely adopted. While PSL specifies the semantics of primitive relations between objects, activities and timepoints, DAML-S provides a higher-level vocabulary, which is as yet ungrounded (as regards PSL-level relations). The Script vocabulary developed in the RKF program is both high-level and grounded, but is

grounded in primitive CycL relations (Aitken and Curtis 2002). Work is also underway on the DAML program and other DARPA efforts which aims to describe the capabilities of agents. Many common intuitions lie behind these languages/ontologies, but significant differences in level of abstraction, scope, and knowledge representation language exist. The CoSAR-TS project will explore the (re)usability of plan and process ontologies for representing declarative domain knowledge, and for task-based reasoning.


Sources of candidate ontologies and knowledge to compare or evaluate within the proposed project are:

     DAML, DAML-S, RKF Process Ontology, NIST PSL, SPAR, Cyc,

     Enterprise, TOVE, CoAX, C-CINC21


Sources of process models and SOPs to use within the proposed project are:


     Center for Army Lessons learned

     Navy Task List


Development of Coalition Ontology and Knowledge Bases of Coalition SOPs


Part of the aim of the proposed work is to allow Austin Tate to continue to engage with and be involved in emerging efforts to create a shared ontology that can underpin task, process, event and process related knowledge and especially its use in coalition and international disaster relief operations.  He will seek to involve himself where approved by the program managers in activities such as C-CINC21’s coalition ontology, any follow on CoAX ontology work, and with emerging standards such as DAML-S, NIST PSL, etc.


A web site at has been establish to act as a research prototype for the current proposed effort, and related student projects at Edinburgh, of the sorts of repositories for such materials now being created by the Multi-national Interoperability Council (MIC) for real multi-national missions by, for example, the USPACOM-led Multi-national Planning Augmentation Team (  Austin Tate hopes to engage with groups like MPAT and similar efforts to exchange experience, concepts and results.


An extract from a communication related to MIC shows the potential importance of the “augmented messaging” approach advocated in this research proposal…



Date: 141220Z May 02 








Outreach and Transition Opportunities Being Explored


Outreach opportunities to a number of interested parties are planned. The project is proposed to be of 3 years duration from 1st January 2003 to allow overlap with transition opportunities into the major NWDC/Olympic Challenge '04 exercise, and possible ahead of that with SPAWAR, USPACOM, MPAT, TTCP, AFRL and C-CINC21, which are opportunities actively under discussion with those involved.  JFCOM has been proposed as another exploitation opportunity and Jeff Bradshaw has appropriate contacts there to explore this.


Workplan and Deliverables


WP1 Task Support Ontology Comparative Study and Evaluation


Study of potential contributing ontologies from the DARPA DAML and RKF programs, NIST, C-CINC21, CoAX, etc.  Feedback from experience on WP2 and WP3.  Feed forward to WP4 and WP5.


Many common intuitions lie behind the DAML-S process ontology and the languages and ontologies developed previously for planning and process representation (e.g. NIST PSL, CPR, <I-N-OVA> and the CycL Process Ontology). However, significant differences in level of abstraction, scope, and knowledge representation language exist in the final formalised representations. The CoSAR-TS project will explore the (re)usability of plan and process ontologies for representing declarative knowledge about agents and their capabilities, and for task-based reasoning in multi-agent scenarios. The specific problem to be addressed in CoSAR-TS is the representation of some types of planning and activity management related agents, and the exchange of tasks, plans, activities, constraints and other task-related information between them. This will specifically try to describe I-X process Panels and their capability models in DAML-S. If time permits, a study of mapping between different ontologies in use in different systems may be explored and could enable the re-use of these process ontology contributions in open multi-agent systems.




0.15 FTE



<I-N-C-A> and DAML-S Report

Month 6


Input to First Year Report

Month 12


WP2 Task Support Technologies


I-X Technology research and development for collaboration, task, process, event and activity management. Effort will be directed towards the use of capability descriptions of I-X process panels and agents using the outputs of the comparative study and concepts from WP1 and using research concepts from joint work between Edinburgh and IHMC/UWF in WP3.




0.15 FTE



I-X Version 3.1

Month 6


I-X Version 3.2

Month 12



WP3 Task Support & Domain Management


            Joint research and development of concepts to link domain management and task/process management concepts in collaborative and coalition domains. Discussions, proposals and papers by Austin Tate and Jeff Bradshaw.




0.1 FTE



0.1 FTE



0.05 FTE


            Jeff Bradshaw at IHMC is expected to provide approximately 0.1 man years of effort in FY03, 0.1 man years of effort in FY04 and a small amount of effort in Fy05 towards this work package.



Collaboration Report V1

Month 12


Collaboration Report V2

Month 24


Collaboration Report Final

Month 36


WP4 Task Support to C²SAR Trials


Trial scenario development and Search and Rescue demonstration development - drawing on WP2 and WP3




0.05 FTE



0.1 FTE



0.05 FTE


IHMC are expected to provide approximately 0.2 man years of support programmer effort in FY03 towards this work package.



C2SAR Demo 1

Month 12


WP5 Technology Transfer, Reporting and Co-operation


Responsive mode Work Package to forge links to and transfer concepts and results to programs such as:


C-CINC21 Coalition Ontology

NWDC/Olympic Challenge ‘04

Multinational Interoperability Council/ USPACOM/MPAT SOPs

SPAWAR C2SAR Scenario Interests

DAML Program, DAML-S, SONAT and Ontology Development

NIST/ ISO process Representation Standards


OntoWeb European Semantic Web Network

TTCP/KSCO/AFRL Coalition C4I Interests




0.1 FTE



0.15 FTE



0.05 FTE




Transfer Result 1



Transfer Result 2



Transfer Result *



* It is an aim of the project to engage with a number of programs, commands and groups seeking to develop and utilise knowledge systems for coalition operations of various kinds.  Where possible I-X process Panel technology and related results will be provided to them for use as appropriate in their own work.  Actual results to be transferred and the dates will be identified as the project progresses and will be reported via regular progress reports.  Web materials to support such transitions will be created where appropriate as is usual for I-X project results.



Project Staffing and Financial Plan




FY 2003

FY 2004

FY 2005











Austin Tate (AT)





Jeff Dalton (JD)





Stuart Aitken (SA)





University of Edinburgh Total







An outline budget has been prepared based on the following limitations if funding at present.  The current proposal just covers the statement of work and detailed costing for the AIAI/Edinburgh effort.


                             AIAI                IHMC

FY 2003            $140,000           $60,000

FY 2004              $85,000           $34,500

FY 2005              $36,500           $14,500

Total                  $261,500         $109,000


The PI, Austin Tate, is to dedicate 0.25 of his time in year 1 and 2 (reducing thereafter within the funding profile currently available) to the project to allow him to continue to interact in a flexible and extensive way with the US research community.  Austin Tate is PI on related projects and the results of these will be exchanged where helpful into the proposed project.  The main UK projects involved at present are Advanced Knowledge Technologies ( and Collaborative AKT in the Grid (4 man years per annum for 2 years from June 2002 involving 3 universities (  These are in areas directly related to the proposed research and outreach or transition proposals included here and will be drawn upon to provide the technical base to achieve results well beyond those achievable within the currently proposed project.


The provisional plan is that the 0.1-0.2 man year of effort per year from Jeff Bradshaw as Co-PI would be balanced by a similar effort level from Austin Tate on a project likely to be bid by Jeff Bradshaw at UWF/IHMC to the DARPA NICCI program (under the current plan).  If both are funded, a simplification of the contracting arrangement might allow a work plan element to be written into each project’s workplan rather than explicitly transferring funds via sub-contracts or via the contract vehicle each Institute has.  Work Package 3 in the current proposal allows for this if the program managers and contracts officers agree on such a swap arrangement.


The costing includes staffing costs, 75% overhead on this sum which also allows for support, admin and other costs, computing charges and costs including the necessary network connection charges and computing staff costs, travel (see below) and a small “other costs” item to allow the project to purchase books, magnetic storage materials and presentation materials.


The project includes a substantial travel budget for year 1 and appropriate continuing travel allowances for years 2 and 3 to facilitate the rich interaction expected between the Edinburgh team and a number of US programs and commands.  In year 1, 4 single person trips to the US (alternately East and West coast for costing purposes) are included.  One trip is budgeted for an extended stay to increase the opportunity for rich interaction and discussions between Austin Tate and Jeff Bradshaw. In years 2 and 3, 3 trips per annum are included.  This will, at a minimum, allow for continued attendance at appropriate DAML program meetings and collaboration between Austin Tate and Jeff Bradshaw.


Mr. Wayne Bosco, the current CoAX contract office for AIAI at AFRL has agreed to offer to act in a contracting capacity and to provide a suitable vehicle – possibly under the AFRL BAA 01-06-IFKPA – Expert Science and Engineering Program.  Mr. Mark Gorniak at AFRL may undertake to be the lead Point of Contact for this effort.


Interested Parties for Transition Opportunities


Jim Burdell, US Navy Space and Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR)


Nort Fowler, AFRL


Wayne Bosco, AFRL/IFTB Contracting


Mark Gorniak, AFRL/IF Point of Contact


Jens Jensen, Assistant Director for Crisis Operations, USCINCPAC (J30-OPT), USPACOM/MPAT


Scott Fouse ISX for C-CINC21


Rich Coupland and Paul Schmitt, NWDC


Murray Burke, DARPA IXO for a range of DAML/RKF evaluation and transition opportunities


John Flynn, BBN Technologies for DARPA DAML Program Transition



References and Bibliography


Aitken, S. and Curtis, J. A Process Ontology. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management (EKAW02), October 2002, Siguenza, Spain.


Allsopp, D., Beautement, P., Bradshaw, J., Durfee, E., Kirton, M.,  Knoblock, C., Suri, N., Tate, A. and Thompson, C. (2002) “Coalition Agents eXperiment: Multi-agent Co-operation in an International Coalition Setting”, Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Knowledge Systems for Coalition Operations, pp. 5-20, Toulouse, France, 23-24 April 2002 and IEEE Intelligent Systems, May/June 2002.


Anupriya, A., Murstein, M., Hobbs, J., Lassila, O., Martin, D., McDermott, D., McIlraith, S.A., Narayanan, S., Paolucci, M., Payne, T. and Sycara, K. (2002) DAML-S: Web Service Description for the Semantic Web, in Proceedings of International Semantic Web Conference, Sardnia, June 2002.


Boury-Brisset, A-C. (2001) “Ontologies for Coalition Interoperability”, C-CINC21 Project, Defence Research Establishment Valcartier (DREV), Canada. Published in Proceedings (MP-064) of NATO RTO Information Systems Technology Panel Symposium on Information Management Challenges in Achieving Coalition Interoperability, Quebec City, Canada, 28-30 May 2001.


Bradshaw, J.M., Holm, P.D., Boose, J.H., Skuce, D. & Lethbridge, T. (1992). Sharable ontologies as a basis for communication and collaboration in conceptual modeling. Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Knowledge Acquisition for Knowledge-Based Systems Workshop, Banff, Canada, October 11-16, 3-1—3.25.


Bradshaw, J.M., Dutfield, S., Benoit, P. and Woolley, J.D. (1997) “KAoS:  Toward an Industrial-Strength Generic Agent Architecture,” Software Agents, AAAI Press/The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., pp. 375-418.


Bradshaw, J. M., Suri, N., Cañas, A., Davis, R., Ford, K. M., Hoffman, R., Jeffers, R., & Reichherzer, T. (2001). Terraforming cyberspace. IEEE Computer(July), 49-56.


Bradshaw, J. M., Boy, G., Durfee, E., Gruninger, M., Hexmoor, H., Suri, N. Tambe, M., Uschold, M., & Vitek, J. (2002). Software Agents for the Warfighter. ITAC Consortium Report. Cambridge, MA: AAAI/MIT Press, to appear.


Center for Army Lessons Learned




Gruninger, M. and Fox, M.S. (1995) “The Logic of Enterprise Modelling”, in “Reengineering the Enterprise” (eds. Brown, J. and O’Sullivan, D.) pp. 83-98, Chapman & Hall.


Lee, J., Gruninger, M., Jin. Y., Malone, T., Tate, A., Yost, G., and other members of the PIF Working Group, (1995) "The Process Interchange Format and Framework",  in  "Special  Issue on Ontologies", Knowledge Engineering Review, Vol.13(1), March, 1998, Cambridge University Press. 


Multinational Interoperability Council (MIC)/Multinational Augmentation Planning Team (MPAT), (2002) Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Multinational Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW)


Navy Task List -


Rathmell, R.A. (1999) “A Coalition Force Scenario 'Binni - Gateway to the Golden Bowl of Africa'”, In Proceedings of the International Workshop on Knowledge-Based Planning for Coalition Forces, (ed. Tate, A.) pp. 115-125,  Edinburgh, Scotland, 10th-11th May 1999.


Schlenoff, C., Gruninger, M., Tissot, F., Valois, J., Lubell, J., and Lee, J., The Process Specification Language (PSL) Overview and Version 1.0 Specification. NIST Report (NISTIR) 6459, Jan. 1999.


Tate, A. (1996) “The <I-N-OVA> Constraint Model of Plans”, Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Planning Systems (AIPS 96), (ed. Drabble, B.), pp. 221-228, Edinburgh, UK, May 1996,  AAAI Press.


Tate, A. (1998) “Roots of SPAR”, in “Special Issue on Ontologies”, Knowledge Engineering Review, Vol.13 (1), March 1998, Cambridge University Press.


Tate, A. (2000) “Intelligible AI Planning”, in Research and Development in Intelligent Systems XVII – the Proceedings of ES2000, The Twentieth British Computer Society Special Group on Expert Systems International Conference on Knowledge Based Systems and Applied Artificial Intelligence, pp. 3-16, Cambridge, UK, December 2000, Springer.



Tate, A., Dalton, J. and Stader, J. (2002) “I-P2: Intelligent Process Panels to Support Coalition Operations”, Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Knowledge Systems for Coalition Operations, pp. 184-190, Toulouse, France, 23-24 April 2002 and IEEE Intelligent Systems, May/June 2002.


Tate, A., Levine, J., Dalton, J. and Nixon, A. (2002) “Task Achieving Agents on the World Wide Web”, in “Creating the Semantic Web”, Fensel, D., Hendler, J., Liebermann, H. and Wahlster, W.  (eds.), MIT Press, 2001.


Uschold, M., King, M., Moralee, S. and Zorgios, Y. (1998) “The Enterprise Ontology”, Knowledge Engineering Review,13(1), pp. 31-89, Cambridge University Press.