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In 2017, U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) established the Internet of Battle Things (IoBT) Collaborative Research Alliance (CRA), a research effort that developed foundations of IoBT in the context of future Army operations. The research alliance consisted of private sector and government researchers working jointly to address military challenges in internet-connected, complex battlefields.[1][2] IoBT is related to the use of robots in battle.[3][4][5] The overall objective of IoBT CRA was informed military decision-making into the future through improved understanding of networks of intelligent sensors and actuators. IoBT can be summarized as a set of interconnected entities or “things” that are self-aware, adaptive and autonomous, interacting with humans and battlefield environments with great complexity. Entities include sensors, small actuators, control components, networks, and information sources. IoBT represents the realization of pervasive technology in warfare, where everything is a sensor and potentially a processor.[2]

In 2018, ARL awarded $25 million to the Alliance for Internet of Battlefield Things Research on Evolving Intelligent Goal-driven Networks (IoBT REIGN), to deliver capabilities that address scientific gaps in future technology delivering unified mission command networks. The funding covered the first 5 years of a potential 10-year effort.[6]

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the University of Pennsylvania were selected by ARL as lead research organizations for two research programs. Other alliance members include University of Massachusetts, University of California-Los Angeles and Berkeley, University of Southern California, Carnegie Mellon University, and SRI International.[1]

IoBT CRA brought together researchers in machine learning, information theory, control theory, formal methods, networking, cognitive science and cyber-physical security.[7]

As foci for research, ARL identified three research areas and a cross-cutting research issue. These included:

  • Discovery, Composition and Adaptation of Goal-Driven Heterogeneous IoBTs: Novel mathematical theories and scientific insights leading to scalable IoBTs.[2]
  • Autonomic IoBTs to Enable Intelligent Services: Theoretical foundations, models, and methods of autonomic complex systems that deliver adaptive cyberphysical capabilities.[2]
  • Distributed Asynchronous Processing and Analytics of Things: Scientific principles, theories, and methods that enable predictive processing, analytics, and anomaly detection of complex data.[2]
  • Cyber-Physical Security: Methods that address the challenges of the above research areas, while enriching the resiliency of the IoBT.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "UIUC, Penn to Lead Research in IoBT". 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "ARL Program Announcement IOBT". 
  3. Greene, Tristan (2018-04-02). "Military documents reveal how the US Army plans to deploy AI in future wars" (in en-US). The Next Web. 
  4. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Get ready for the Internet of Battle Things, warns US Army AI boffin" (in en). 
  5. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Internet of Battle Things: a militarized IoT where "cognitive bandwidth constraints" require "autonomous cyber agents" / Boing Boing" (in en-US). 
  6. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Developing and protecting the internet of battlefield things -- GCN" (in en). 
  7. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "SRI International Leading Security Research for U.S. Army Research Lab Initiative to Develop and Secure the Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT) | SRI International" (in en). 
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