Threat Detection Network in Works

Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 06:11 PM gHale

A new and improved nuclear and radioactive threat detection network for the United States could soon be just around the corner.

That is because the National Science Foundation issued a $1 million grant to the University of Iowa to develop a new program.

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Although the United States currently has nuclear and radioactive detection systems in place, the systems mainly focus on seaports, airports, and other mass transport centers. Er-Wei Bai, project principal investigator and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Iowa, said the systems need improvement.

“There is a growing recognition of the inadequacy of current capabilities with respect to threat detection and localization in a large area, for example, in the downtown area of a metropolitan city. There already exists a number of ways to detect radioactive material in an isolated area, such as a seaport,” Bai said.

“What is needed is not only an isolated detector but a system integrating threat detection and localization in a large area so that the public and law enforcement officials can respond according to the situation,” he said.

Called “CPS: Synergy: A Hybrid Detector Network for Nuclear and Radioactive Threat Detection,” the project consists of several detection systems rolled into one.

The grant allows researchers to develop an integrated cyber-physical system by using inexpensive wireless sensors together with more expensive mobile sensors.

They will locate the sensors so as to eliminate local issues that can compromise results, keep the information exchange to manageable levels, attain fast distributed localization, achieve robust decision-making even in the presence of disrupted communication and large uncertainty, and assist in the sensors’ autonomous self-organization.

The UI team is working in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, located just outside of Chicago and managed by the University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy.

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