Thwarting Terrorism: Making sense of sensors: Researchers aim to improve detection of nuclear threats
Sensor technology is greatly advancing the ability to detect dangerous material. But how do we collect and interpret information as quickly as possible to respond to threats without generating false alarms? Princeton researchers are part of a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for research on optimizing the management of sensors used in ports, on roadways and in the air to identify smuggled nuclear material that might be used to create “dirty bombs.”
“We don’t realize it, but nuclear material is running around our highways all the time,” said Warren Powell ’77, a professor of operations research and financial engineering. “The challenge is efficiently managing sensors to distinguish a real threat from a hospital-waste truck that happens to have taken on an extra load of radioactive material.”
Powell and Savas Dayanik, an assistant professor of operations research and financial engineering, are co-investigators on the grant, which was awarded recently to the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, based at Rutgers University.