In many applications there is a broad variety of information relevant to a focal “object” of interest, and the fusion of such heterogeneous data types is desirable for classification and categorization. While these various data types can sometimes be treated as orthogonal (such as the hull number, superstructure color, and speed of an oil tanker), there are instances where the inference and the correlation between quantities can provide improved fusion capabilities (such as the height, weight, and gender of a person). A service-oriented architecture has been designed and prototyped to support the fusion of information for such “object-centric” situations. It is modular, scalable, and flexible, and designed to support new data sources, fusion algorithms, and computational resources without affecting existing services. The architecture is designed to simplify the incorporation of legacy systems, support exact and probabilistic entity disambiguation, recognize and utilize multiple types of uncertainties, and minimize network bandwidth requirements. Keywords—Data fusion, distributed computing, service-oriented architecture, SOA.
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