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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/J020494/1
Title: Trusted Dynamic Coalitions
Principal Investigator: Missier, Dr P
Other Investigators:
Fitzgerald, Professor J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr JW Bryans
Project Partners:
Department: Computing Sciences
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 May 2012 Ends: 30 October 2013 Value (£): 99,038
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Computer Sys. & Architecture Information & Knowledge Mgmt
Software Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Feb 2012 Data Intensive Systems (DaISy) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Businesses are finding more and more ways to take advantage of the

internet, and can they can reduce costs and increase their sales by going

online. Communication across continents is easier than ever before, and so

they can also use the internet to work together. Smaller specialist

companies can now compete with large multinationals by

working together to distribute sub-tasks of the work to companies

specialist in that sub-task. They have then created a "virtual

organisation" -- an increasingly common mode of working.

Virtual organisations also form when organisations, military forces

and bystanders put aside differences and work together to alleviate

the consequences of a major disaster. One of the characteristics of

these virtual organisations is that they are highly fluid -- as the

situation on the ground changes, partners and the trust between them

changes, structures change and even the purpose of the virtual

organisation can change. In the military sphere, virtual

organisations such as these are known as dynamic coalitions.

A problem virtual organisations face is that the members often do not

trust one another. They may be competitors for the most part, and

only working together on a single job, and so there will naturally be

information that they are not prepared to disclose to potential


In a virtual organisation, partners need to take action based on the

information they receive from other partners. This presents a problem,

because the information may not be trustworthy. To increase their

confidence that they are taking the right action, there are some

things a partner can do. They can ask the sender for more details

about the information itself, such as its source or age (known as the

provenance of the information), but these details can often give away

organisation or government secrets, and partners are naturally not

keen to release them. They could try to verify the information

themselves or via a third party, but these activities take time and

in situations such as disaster response, speed is an

important factor.

We wish to enable a partner to increase their confidence that they are

taking the right action in a virtual organisation. We will do this

by providing methods and tools that help partners to choose the

virtual organisation policies so that the desire for provenance data

and the desire for secrecy are held in balance.

We will look particularly at the provenance acquisition policy,

which states what provenance information is associated with

communications within the virtual organisation, and the provenance use

policy, which states the action that a partner will take on receipt of

information with a certain provenance associated to it.

Choosing the right combination of policies here is critical to the

success of a virtual organisation, and this choice must be made and

re-made as the partners, trust relationships and goals of the virtual

organisation change.

We will build mathematical models of the policies and the virtual

organisation itself, and a tool to allow partners to interact with

these models (without their needing to understand the models) to

predict the impact of changes to these policies in terms both of the

secrecy requirements within the virtual organisation and their ability

to have confidence in the information they receive. This will help in

the choice of provenance policies both at the start of a virtual

organisation and throughout its lifetime.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk