A Career of Taking Risks Earns Johns Hopkins APL Researcher National Data Fusion Award
Andy Newman (third from right) stands with past recipients of the Joe Mignogna Data Fusion Award. From left: Chee-Yee Chong, Alan Steinberg, Erik Blasch, Frank White, Jim Llinas and Mark Owen.
Credit: Military Sensing Symposia
Tue, 11/21/2023 - 15:37
Andy Newman, an engineer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, was presented with the Joe Mignogna Data Fusion Award on Nov. 8 at the Military Sensing Symposia, National Security Sensor and Data Fusion (MSS NSSDF) conference in San Diego.
The Joe Mignogna award honors a leader in the data fusion community. Newman leads a team of more than 70 APL scientists, mathematicians and engineers in cutting-edge development and implementation of advanced data fusion and sensor resource management capabilities.
His technical contributions have addressed some of the nation’s most critical national security challenges. Newman pioneered upstream data fusion techniques — the processing, exploitation and fusion of sensor data as closely to the raw feed as possible. He led an Independent Research and Development (IRAD) effort, called Precision Engagement of Moving Targets (PEMT), to implement a robust upstream data fusion, multi-hypothesis tracking and closed-loop intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability. The core data fusion capability blossomed and was adapted for missions such as tracking non-emitting targets, space situational awareness, and maritime tracking and targeting.
Newman inspires colleagues to think boldly about how to take on challenges. “With data fusion research, our exercises are exciting and messy,” he said. “During testing, we are fixing issues right up until the last minute. Then, the data trickles in and it’s a thrill and relief to see the results. That unknown keeps my work engaging and interesting. The data fusion community is filled with people who like to push the envelope.”
In 2016, Newman invented Reconnaissance Blind Chess (RBC) and led the team that developed APL’s online application of the game that spurred development of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting (ISR&T) and sensor resource management algorithms by researchers outside the traditional defense research and development community. RBC has grown into an arena for the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning and was featured as a tournament at the 2019, 2021 and 2022 Neural Information Processing Systems conferences.
“Andy’s skills as a technical researcher and developer in the data fusion field, his visionary leadership and mentorship of younger researchers, and his service to the broader data fusion community exemplify the personal integrity, character and willingness to share knowledge and expertise with others that are the hallmarks of the Joe Mignogna Data Fusion Award,” said Chris Baumgart, APL’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting program manager.
Among his accomplishments, Newman also lists more than 50 research publications in data fusion, sensor tasking and management, machine autonomy for ISR&T and automatic control.
Newman has served for many years as a committee member and session chair for the MSS NSSDF conference.
“Andy is a leader and mentor to the up-and-coming professionals in our field,” said Mark Owen, the MSS NSSDF chair. “He offers guidance and encourages the community to collaborate, ensuring the best technologies and concepts are discussed and debated at the conference.”
“I’m honored to be in the company of the past recipients of the Joe Mignogna award,” said Newman. “They are incredibly talented individuals who have served as my mentors and are known for bringing the data fusion community together to think about challenges in new ways. I draw inspiration from these individuals as I encourage the next generation of data fusion experts.”
The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.