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Research Program 3b - Data Science

Today, data is at the core of all operational decisions, and this is certainly the case in the area of defence. The research program in data science is a key contributor towards building expertise in developing military capacities in the areas of intelligence and operations. This expertise is developed through innovative research projects that include concept demonstrations and field experiments to validate key findings.

Une tête humaine devant différents points.

Information and communications technology (ICT) is an important resource in our society, be it in the economy, industry or in government. These systems produce and exchange large amounts of data, which today represents great value, from which a lot of information can be obtained. One outcome of these rapid advances is modern wars and conflicts around these IT systems, in order to weaken state operations, and unfortunately, Switzerland has not been spared from such attacks.

In situations where IT is under attack, data science generates new opportunities related to data collection and data mining to gain a tactical advantage against potential adversaries. Thanks to the use of adapted techniques, it is possible to detect illegal activities in these systems, but also to obtain information on potential adversaries and their intentions.

The research program focuses on strengthening expertise in the areas of data acquisition, data management, processing and analysis, as well as their protection against fraudulent utilisation. The emergence of new algorithms and mathematical models has made it possible to identify new relationships and to discover new phenomena from data. These new approaches, however, not only create new opportunities, but also induce risks that need to be assessed. As a result of rapid technological evolution and the constant growth of threats, the research has adapted to new challenges in an agile manner.

The acquired expertise and findings are transitioned to operational units of the Armed Forces to support them in their intelligence and cyber defence operations. In order to identify the key information enabling decision-makers to gain a tactical advantage in these operations, it is necessary to be able to process large quantities of heterogeneous data within a short period of time.

The research program in data science assures the availability of the required technological expertise with the help of an extensive international network of experts, made up of universities, industry and governmental partners.

Competence areas

Various icons revolve around a sphere.

Various sources and types of data are available, be it through social networks, the Internet of Things or public databases. All of this data offers new possibilities, but requires different methods of acquisition, having to consider the veracity and spatio-temporal aspects of the data. The new approaches based on participatory platforms or open sources are very promising.

Close-up of a server

In terms of operational conduct, it is imperative to have the right information with good quality and at the right time. Expertise is being developed in order to be able to evaluate information systems and modern infrastructures, taking into account the increasing quantity of data (big data problematic), its speed and heterogeneity.

Various animations in front of a black image

Algorithms based on machine learning are being reviewed in order to identify patterns and the recurrences across data sets. These activities have a wide range of potential applications such as detecting anomalies, classifying signals, texts, languages and images as well as analysing graphs.

A padlock in front of the numeric codes

Nowadays, data forms the basis of operational decisions. It is therefore necessary to ensure that it is not manipulated by adversaries, and that the decision models are robust in the face of attacks. In addition, the protection of personal data from persons and institutions must be guaranteed against fraudulent use.

Technology demonstrators

Icons from different social media connected by dots to form a sphere.

The evaluation of information procured from social networks poses new technical and analytical challenges. Using a demonstrator, armasuisse S+T examines the new processes and technologies for researching information, as well as analysing and visualising data from social networks, and presents it in a simple manner.

The word "dictionary" in the dictionary.

Translation tools are very widespread today. However, they involve numerous risks as they all depend on an Internet connection and do not permit translation of classified information. armasuisse S+T has trained its own independent translation models which can be optimised for particular syntax and vocabulary (social networks or organised crime).

Various partially hooded people are standing around a fire on a staircase.

Conflict anticipation can provide a major tactical advantage in the application of a peace strategy and a political negotiation. Thanks to various sources of public data (social networks and media), armasuisse S+T has developed algorithms capable of identifying that a country is at a turning point in terms of political stability and that a revolution or armed conflict are foreseeable.

Playing figures stand on a white background.

The Internet of Things is a paradigm which enables data to be collected from sensors in a distributed manner. The deployment and maintenance of these sensors, however, pose major logistical challenges. armasuisse S+T is examining the possibility of using data coming from participatory platforms (crowdsensing), taking into account the challenges related to the security and authenticity of the information.


A wide network of partners from the professional world, academia, universities and other research institutes in Switzerland and abroad is actively used and maintained in order to develop expertise. In order to keep track of skills and capabilities, close contact and an exchange of information is maintained with users and the planning, procurement and test centres of the DDPS.

Research Program Manager

Dr. Gérôme Bovet
Dr. Gérôme Bovet

Our «Data Science» research program manager is delighted at your interest.


Sciences and Technology Field of Study Cybersecurity and Data Science
Feuerwerkerstrasse 39
CH-3602 Thun
+41 58 468 27 15

Research Program Manager

Dr. Gérôme Bovet