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September 3rd 2007 - Leading conference shows technology of the future

DIF DTC Conference

First Minister of Wales opens annual conference for Technology Centre

Academics, scientists, experts and business leaders will gather today to discuss and demonstrate the technology of the future in a major conference held for the first time in Wales. Cardiff University is hosting the annual conference of the Defence Technology Centre in Data and Information Fusion (DIF DTC), a £60m partnership led by high-tech company General Dynamics UK for the Ministry of Defence.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan will give a keynote speech to over 200 delegates including students from a number of local schools and sixth-formers as part of efforts to motivate and interest students in taking up university courses and careers in the advanced sciences.

The DIF DTC, a research consortium of high-tech companies and universities funded jointly by industry and the MoD, is the first of its kind. A key plank of the UK Government’s future vision for defence technology development, it is also a vital component of the government’s Defence Industrial Strategy.

At the conference, the DIF DTC’s partners, which include Cardiff University, BT, QinetiQ, Waterfall Solutions, and eight other universities, will present their year’s work to academics, students, and representatives of industry and the Ministry of Defence. The Centre’s three-year, £30m Phase II contract, awarded last year, is allowing the team to develop key technologies and explore how these can be used in military and national security solutions for the future.

Successful outputs from Phase I have been taken forward in seven new cluster projects, aimed at providing new capabilities at a systems level. These include cutting-edge research on how to track and predict a person’s intentions and behaviours using data about their physical makeup and movements, known collectively as biometrics. One example of this is automatic gait recognition, which uses information about the way a person walks to identify them and analyse their possible intentions.

As well as developing sophisticated planning capabilities, the team will continue innovative work on how humans will interface with technology to receive and understand information in the future.

Rhodri Morgan, First Minister of Wales, said: “I am delighted to open the DIF DTC conference, bringing this major event to Wales for the first time. This sort of high-value research is the future for the Welsh economy, and we are delighted that companies such as General Dynamics UK have brought their business and their superb R&D capability here.”

Dr Sandy Wilson, President and Managing Director of General Dynamics UK, said: “This partnership, which involves the MoD and General Dynamics UK working together with universities and industry, has already delivered a wealth of knowledge and understanding. The DIF Defence Technology Centre is an exciting development which plays a vital role in exploring how our defence and security forces will use data and information effectively in the future.”

Dr Andrew Tilbrook, Director of the DIF DTC, said: Great progress has been made this year and most of our major projects already have components that are being actively considered for exploitation.”

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