Logo: University of Southern California

Viterbi School Wins Share of $10.2 Million Homeland Security Effort

Longstanding strengths in key disciplines will bolster ambitious program
Eric Mankin
July 27, 2006 — The Viterbi School will partner with three universities and the Institute for Discrete Sciences in a new Department of Homeland Security initiative on advanced information analysis.
According to a July 25 announcement by the DHS, the topics to be addressed include knowledge representation, natural language processing, text or information extraction, uncertainty quantification, and high-performance computing architectures.

The Vtiterbi School's computer science department and the Intelligent Systems Division of the Information Sciences Institute have longstanding expertise in many of these areas. Professor Dennis McLeod (right) of computer science and Research Scientist Patrick Pantel (center) of ISI will lead Viterbi participation in the project, working under Eduard Hovy (left), deputy director of the ISI Intelligent Systems Division. 

The coordinating center for the $10.2 million project will be at Rutgers University. In addition to ISI, a division of the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering, the other participants will be the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois, Champaign- Urbana.

"This effort will bring together an outstanding group of researchers with a proven track record in information analysis," said Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, Acting Under Secretary for Science and Technology (S&T). "The biggest challenge facing this critical area is the need for improved methods to quickly and accurately analyze, organize and make sense of vast amounts of changing data."

The Institute for Discrete Sciences is a joint project between DHS and several National Laboratories, led by Laurence Livermore National Laboratory. It focuses "on select topics in data sciences, discrete simulation, and discrete mathematics. These topics, collectively labeled 'discrete sciences,' represent enabling computational technologies for present and future challenges in homeland security."

The IDS mission is to "enable scalable, integrated simulation and information analyses for science-based threat characterization and response while creating a human and institutional plant for discrete sciences technology."