New Brunswick/Piscataway, N.J. -- The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a $3 million grant to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, to lead a consortium researching advanced information analysis and computational technologies to protect the nation.
Rutgers will also coordinate a team of four university-based centers, with others based at the University of Southern California, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Pittsburgh. DHS will award a combined total of $10.2 million over three years to Rutgers and these institutions. All four centers will advance efforts to identify common patterns from numerous sources of information, which could indicate potential threats to the nation.
"We are proud of the receipt of this award," said Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick. "It adds strength to Rutgers' ongoing commitment to research in the area of security, which is so important to our nation and particularly to the citizens of our state."
Leading the Rutgers effort is the university's Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS). It will include partner researchers from AT&T Laboratories, Lucent Technologies Bell Labs, Princeton University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Texas Southern University. This group will develop computing technologies that find patterns and relationships in data, such as news stories, open-source web logs, and other accessible information, to quickly identify emerging indicators of possible terrorist activity, and rate the consistency and reliability of the sources. Such information could give officials more lead time to investigate and potentially thwart terrorist plans.
"The challenge involved in this endeavor is not only the massive amount of information out there, but also how quickly it flows and how fast the sources of information change," said Fred Roberts, director of DIMACS. "We will develop real-time streaming algorithms to find patterns and relationships in communications, such as among writers who may be hiding their identities, and to rate information sources for their reliability and trustworthiness."
The Rutgers center will undertake nine research projects in its first year and will also create educational programs around the technology it develops, such as courses and certificate programs for undergraduate and graduate students. The center will also establish outreach efforts for high school students and community groups.
The principal investigators include Roberts as the overall director of the Rutgers center; Nathaniel Dean at Texas Southern University; Mark Goldberg at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Colin Goodall at AT&T Labs; Debasis Mitra at Bell Labs; S. Muthukrishnan at Rutgers University; and Warren Powell at Princeton University.
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