Algorithm to help soldiers identify safe, enemy shipments
In another project supported by the U.S. Department of Defense, Holder is working to analyze relationships in war zones to try to help the military better identify its friends and enemies.
Much intelligence collection is done by word of mouth, he said. Officers conduct interviews daily, take notes and try to piece together a social network of who knows whom, or who might be working for whom. Based on the relationships, officers identify those who may be a friend or an enemy.
Holder is developing computer programs that will help analyze the data to uncover anomalies. With the help of the algorithm, soldiers could enter data, keep track of and share relationship information through their smart phones or personal digital assistants (PDA).
The algorithm simply helps automate information gathering, so soldiers can more quickly and efficiently understand the relationships around them. And it could help soldiers better determine what piece of information might be missing or who they should interview next.
Holder’s team hopes to begin deploying the program on soldier training missions within three years.
The cargo at U.S. ports is already regularly screened, Holder said, but he is working to help inspectors know better which cargo, in particular, should be targeted for further screening and inspection. So his team developed an algorithm that can look at the many attributes of each piece of cargo.
With the DHS grant, the researchers are working to improve the algorithm so it reliably can be used in ports. It must be able to detect anomalies that are helpful without overburdening the system with too many false positive results.