ISI Wins Share of $10.2 Million Homeland Security Effort

July 27, 2006

The USC Information Sciences Institute and the USC Viteribi School department of computer science 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 addressed include knowledge representation, natural language processing, text or information extraction, uncertainty quantification, and high-performance computing architectures.

ISI's Intelligent Systems Division has longstanding expertise in many of these areas. Research scientist Patrick Pantel will lead the ISI research team, working with Professor Dennis McLeod of the USC Viterbi School's department of computer science. Both will report to Eduard Hovy, 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 USC, 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."