The US Department of Defense (DoD) granted a $7.5 million, five-year Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative grant to a Virginia Tech research team, the university announced on Tuesday. The research team is studying the military’s Internet of Things (IoT) systems to improve latency and information quality.

SEE: 5G mobile networks: An insider’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Information latency refers to a time delay between when a network is told to transfer information and when the actual transfer occurs. Network users want a rapid transmission of information with little to no delay—or low latency—for efficient and secure business operations. The promise of low latency is a driving force behind the popularity of 5G mobile networks, which promises to deliver high speeds with no delays.

Information latency is even more critical when the information being transmitted is for the military, as “latency may be the deciding factor in the outcome of warfare,” said Erica Corder, Virginia Tech College of Engineering communications manager, in the announcement.

The goal of the research is to develop a framework that ensures low latency and information freshness in the military’s IoT systems, using experimental prototypes and demonstrations. At the end of the team’s research, the DoD will have latency-prioritized innovations that can be applied across the military.

“Despite much progress being made in the study of military communications, the basic science for tracking, control, and optimization of information latency is yet to be developed,” principal investigator Jeffrey Reed, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the college of engineering at Virginia Tech, said in the announcement. “In fact, a fundamental knowledge of information latency is crucial for our military to maintain information superiority on the battlefield.”

The DoD’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative grant program called upon teams of researchers to submit proposals that addressed high-priority military topics across more than one traditional technical discipline. These priorities included a Navy and Marine Corps STEM education and workforce program, development of advanced technologies for diagnostic sensors, neutralization of buried and surface munitions in land environments, cybersecurity training programs, and more.

From 295 proposals entered, the DoD chose 24 final research teams, who all received portions of the $162 million grant available. The Virginia Tech-led team includes researchers specialized in wireless networks, information theory, signal processing, game theory, optimization, learning, control theory, computer science, and cybersecurity.

For more, check out The DoD’s apparent U-turn on open source is common sense on TechRepublic.

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