Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Airport Security From Chaos

Date:
April 21, 2008
Source:
US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology
Summary:
There's safety in numbers -- especially when those numbers are random. That's the lesson learned from new research that is already helping to beef up security at LAX airport in Los Angeles. Soon it may be used across the country to both predict and minimize risk.

Canine car search.
Credit: DHS S&T

There's safety (and security) in numbers ... especially when those numbers are random. That's the lesson learned from a DHS-sponsored research project out of the University of Southern California (USC). The research is already helping to beef up security at LAX airport in Los Angeles, and it could soon be used across the country to predict and minimize risk.

Here's how it works: Computer software records the locations of routine, random vehicle checkpoints and canine searches at the airport. Police then provide data on possible terrorist targets and their relative importance. These data may change from one day to the next, or if there have been any security breaches or suspicious activity.

The computer runs, and--voilà--police get a model of where to go, and when. The software comes up with random decisions that are based on calculated probabilities of a terrorist attack at those locations, using mathematical algorithms.

The result: Security with airtight unpredictability. With the software, it's extremely difficult to predict police operations.

"What the airport was doing before was not truly statistically random; it was simply mixing things up," said computer science professor Milind Tambe. "What they have now is systematized, true randomization."

Tambe is with the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), a DHS Center of Excellence based at USC. CREATE works with government agencies and other researchers to evaluate the risks, the costs, and the consequences of terrorism. The center helps policymakers set priorities and find the best, most efficient ways to counter threats and prevent attacks.

It was Tambe who had an "ah-ha moment" in 2004 that led to the LAX project. He and his team use math and computers to study "multi-agent systems"--in other words, systems in which different software applications, robots, and people interact.

By nature, Tambe contends, humans cannot oversee purely random systems for an extended period. Invariably, they'll make decisions based on prior decisions. He recognized the parallels between this field and counterterrorism.

Praveen Paruchuri was a CREATE student at the time, and he, too, saw the connection. Then, in 2007, Paruchuri's Ph.D. dissertation on the subject caught the eye of CREATE Associate Director Erroll Southers. Southers serves as Chief of Intelligence and Counterterrorism with the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department, which supports LAX.

Soon thereafter, Tambe and Paruchuri tested the software, and the project was born as a six-month trial period. And it was given a snappy name, of course: Assistant for Randomized Monitoring over Routes, a.k.a. ARMOR.

ARMOR has recently completed its six-month trial, and airport officials have given the university the "thumbs up" to transfer the software over to LAX on a more permanent basis.

Meanwhile, other airports, agencies, and even businesses are starting to notice, Tambe said. It's a project that's attracting attention from coast to coast.

But, wait: What if terrorists get hold of ARMOR and use the same information" Couldn't they solve the predictability puzzle" Not really, Tambe said. "Even if they got the software and all the inputs, it'd be like rolling 50 different dice and expecting to correctly roll one combination of all 50 pairs."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology. "Airport Security From Chaos." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080416161215.htm>.
US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology. (2008, April 21). Airport Security From Chaos. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080416161215.htm
US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology. "Airport Security From Chaos." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080416161215.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) — Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins