Sharing uncertain information – The importance of basis


  1. Hammond, T.R.
  2. Isenor, A.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Atlantic Research Centre, Halifax NS (CAN)
This document illustrates some of the pitfalls involved in sharing uncertain information in a naval coalition setting. It focuses on what metadata should be shared along with the uncertain information, in order to avoid these pitfalls. The paper highlights the important role played by the ‘basis’ of the uncertain information. The basis identifies the set of sources (typically random variables) that contributed data towards the derivation of the uncertain information. This key role is illustrated in a series of four naval decision-making scenarios that explore what can happen, if the basis is missing or uncertain. Each scenario illustrates a different mechanism by which reasoning under uncertainty can go awry, even though all parties act rationally, in good faith and from exactly the same semantic understanding of terms. These fictional scenarios are described and modelled using Bayesian networks. The mechanisms illustrated are as follows: Data Incest is using the same data twice; Fear of Data Incest is trying so hard to avoid data incest that relevant information goes unused; Dangerous Secrecy is the result of restricting access to the basis for security reasons; and Changing Relevance refers to the opening and closing of old inference paths in the light of new evidence. Results indicate how sharing the basis of uncertain information can help thwart these mechanisms, although full protection from all of them requires the ability to tell what is relevant to a given decisio

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uncertainty;data sharing;decision-making;coalition operations
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2016-R155 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Jul 2016
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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