Research Will Help Improve Homeland Security
Edwin L. Aguirre
In December, a 23-year-old Nigerian passenger aboard a Northwest Airlines flight tried, but failed, to detonate a homemade explosive devise as the plane was preparing to land in Detroit. This latest incident highlights the need for the U.S. to be ever more vigilant in the face of global terrorism.
Computer Science Prof. Georges Grinstein, director of UMass Lowell’s Institute for Visualization and Perception Research, is working with fellow researchers at Rutgers University and other institutions as part of a new U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence. The Center aims to develop technological tools needed to analyze vast amounts of information from multiple sources and provide a more reliable means of detecting threats to national security and infrastructure.
Rutgers will co-direct the Center with Purdue University. The Center, which will receive a multi-year grant of up to $5 million per year over a period of six years, will develop advanced methods for information analysis, knowledge management, threat assessment, information sharing, interoperable communications and surveillance. Purdue will focus on the visualization sciences while Rutgers will concentrate on the data sciences.
The Rutgers consortium; called CCICADA, for Command, Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis; is composed of 13 partner universities and corporations, including Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, AT&T Labs, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Southern California, Princeton, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and UMass Lowell.
“My role at CCICADA will be to concentrate on the evaluation of data analysis, the role of visualization in analysis and the educational aspects of visual analytics,” says Grinstein, who is one of the principal investigators for the project.
Applications of CCICADA’s research include defense against threats to national cyber infrastructure and data, data management in emergency situations, risk analysis and non-intrusive data-gathering techniques, as well as improvements to information dissemination.
Rutgers held a kickoff celebration for CCICADA last December at its New Brunswick, N.J., campus. Among the UMass Lowell participants were Prof. Julie Chen, interim vice provost for research, and Shawn Konecni, a biomedical engineering and technology doctoral student who works on drug discovery and visual analytics.
For more information about CCICADA, contact Grinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ccicada.org.