Army tests self-healing network
- By Dan Carney
- Aug 21, 2000
To try to cut through the fog of war, the Army uses tactical operation systems
(TOS) — computer networks that collect information about troop positions
and movements. But battle is messy, and computers don't respond well when
resources unexpectedly become unavailable. In a pervasive computing environment,
such disorder would be the norm.
"From the computer's point of view, the tactical world is almost a nightmare,"
said David Usechak, the Army's product manager for common software at Fort
Monmouth, N.J. "Events occur at random."
The Army is testing Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Jini technology, which helps
computer networks be more flexible. "The self-healing technology is extremely
helpful," Usechak said. "In battle...the guy who can fix them may get shot."
Jini moves self-identification information between servers and clients
so that all members of a network are aware of the others. This communication
allows devices to be configured automatically.
Jini will help TOS users automatically gather data to create a common
tactical picture, a display of all known battlefield information. It will
fetch information from a map server to overlay the positions of battlefield
assets on a map.
The system was demonstrated recently ["Army soars with Openwings," FCW,
Aug. 7], and an early version could be ready in the next 18 months.
In addition, the Navy plans to use Jini on its DD-21 "smart ship" destroyer
to provide the on-board computer network with better survivability and adaptability.