APL Colloquium

November 30, 2007

Colloquium Topic: The Hart Prizes for Excellence in Independent Research and Development

The overall goal for the IR&D Program is to help position the Laboratory to make critical contributions to critical challenges in current and planned business areas through research and development. The Hart Prizes were established to recognize significant contributions to the Laboratory's IR&D Program. This colloquium features the three IR&D Projects recently selected in 2007 to receive the Hart Prizes for excellence in research and development for FY2006.

Research: Distributed Information Systems - Today's information processing systems need to capture and integrate both structured information, such as relational databases, and unstructured information, such as text. Over the past decade, the Distributed Information Systems IR&D project has focused on filling these needs; its overarching goal has been to develop technologies that make diverse distributed information systems easy to integrate and use while simultaneously exhibiting good performance. Systems produced by the project include QUICK, ADINA, HAIRCUT, SVMLattice, and the Active Metadata Framework. This talk will discuss the 2006 project, its history, and the many related lines of work it has produced. APL Investigators: J.C.Mayfield, J.P.McNamee, C.D.Piatko, R.S.Cost, W.L.Bethea, P.A.Frank, C.R. Fink, M.E.Dale, E.C.King, R.T.Hider.

Development: Tactically Responsive Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Management - Warfighters are increasingly using information from a variety of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms and sensors to support tactical operations by providing an accurate and time-critical current picture of a complex and rapidly changing battlefield environment. This IR&D developed a prototype for automated collaborative dynamic retasking of a heterogeneous ensemble of ISR platforms and sensors operating in a closed feedback loop with a data fusion process that combines the information to produce an accurate real-time tactical picture. The new IR&D-developed dynamic ISR management capability was initially applied to the problem of detecting, tracking, and identifying mobile ground threats using a mix of theater and national ISR assets. Subsequent work has focused on applying the concept to employment of multiple unmanned platforms to track and engage ground targets performing unpredictable maneuvers and operating in cluttered environments, such as urban areas. APL Investigators: A.J.Newman, J.T.DeSena, C.K.Peterson, G.A.Harrison.

Development: MEMS Hydrophones for Beamforming Applications - Advances in submarine quieting and the continued replacement of older, noisier submarines lead to limitations of the ability of legacy systems, such as towed arrays or low-gain sonobuoys, to detect the threat posed by modern diesel, air-independent propulsion, and nuclear submarines. A possible solution is the development of distributed sensors, but recent studies have shown that these systems need significant gain to perform well. The existing approach of analog hydrophones, analog filters, baseband digital conversion, followed by digital beamforming proves expensive and power hungry to achieve large gain (order hundred elements or more) performance. This IR&D project developed a new acoustic approach where all of the signal processing and, in effect, the beamformer is built into a microelectromechnical systems (MEMS) hydrophone that is based on a chipscale laser interferometer. The resulting high gain, low cost and low power phased arrays not only address the ASW problem, but also provide solutions for coastal defense, port security, UUV sensors, covert low power acoustic communications, and imaging. APL Investigators: K.J.Rebello, R.Osiander, D.A.Kitchin, R.F.Henrick, C.B.Cooperman S.J.Lehtonen, A.C.Keeney; non-APL Investigator: F.F.Tejada.

Colloquium Speaker: 2007 Hart Prize Winners

James C. Mayfield received an A.B. degree from Harvard College in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989. He was Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Maryland Baltimore County before joining the Applied Physics Laboratory in 1996. He is a member of the Principal Professional Staff, serves as supervisor of the Distributed Information Systems section of the RSI group, and is Associate Research Professor in the Whiting School of Engineering. He was Principal Investigator for the HAIRCUT information retrieval project, which routinely places among the top systems in the world in international evaluations of cross-language retrieval. He is currently leading an effort in populating knowledge bases from text for the new Center of Excellence in Human Language Technologies. Dr. Mayfield has received fellowships from ARDA and NASA, and is the author of over 100 books, articles and other scholarly communications.

Andrew J. Newman is a member of the APL Principal Professional Staff and Section Supervisor of the Data Fusion Analysis Section of the Weapon and Targeting Systems Group in the Global Engagement Department. He received a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania (1987), an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia (1992), and a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Maryland (1999). Since joining APL in 2003, he has worked on projects in sensor and data fusion, ground target tracking, and ISR resource management.

Keith J. Rebello received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic and State University, a M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and a M.S. in Applied Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. His research interests are in the development of novel MEMS and nanotechnologies for inertial measurement units, acoustic sensors, biomedical devices, and TTIL applications.