Milind Tambe, Ph.D., 2010 Homeland Security Award

Written by on April 10, 2010 in 2010, Homeland Security Award, Researcher

Milind Tambe

Milind Tambe, Ph.D.

Professor of Computer Science and Industrial and Systems Engineering
University of Southern California
Viterbi School of Engineering
Los Angeles, California

Dr. Tambe’s research is focused on Artificial Intelligence, with an emphasis on agent-based and multi-agent systems. His research has resulted in significant advances in game theoretic algorithms that are essential to critical applications of counter-terrorism and homeland security. His game theoretic approach provides “intelligent” randomization of security forces’ actions with security guarantees, significantly increasing adversary cost and uncertainty and providing a powerful deterrence.

Dr. Tambe’s research in game theory, a fundamental theory of understanding how people or agents interact with each other, focuses on Stackelberg games. These games refer to real-world situations where police commit to some security schedules, and the adversaries can observe police actions over time, and then choose a location and time of their attack. Solving such games leads to the optimal randomized strategy for the police, e.g. how to randomize their patrols. His research has led to fundamental advances in algorithms for Stackelberg games; this research has been published in a dozen papers in journals and prestigious conferences in Artificial Intelligence.

One major success is the Assistant for Randomized Monitoring Over Routes (ARMOR) system, deployed at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) since August 2007. ARMOR randomizes when and where police checkpoints are set up on in-bound roads into the airport, as well as randomizing patrols of bomb-detecting canine units at the airport terminals. ARMOR has been credited with helping LAX police prevent several loaded weapons from being carried into LAX, and in seizing large quantities of drugs.

Dr. Tambe and his research group’s papers have been selected as best papers or finalists for best papers at over a dozen premier Artificial Intelligence and Operations Research Conferences and workshops, and their algorithms have been deployed for real-world use by several agencies including LAX police and Federal Air Marshals Service.

He received a M.Sc. (Computer Science) from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, Rajasthan, India, and Ph.D. (Computer Science) School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is honored to have had the assistance of the following distinguished individuals serving on the 2010 Homeland Security Award Evaluation Committee:

  • Stephen Cass, Senior Projects Editor, Technology Review Magazine, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mr. Cass studied experimental physics at Trinity College Dublin before relocating to the U.S. He has worked for the nature Publishing Group, IEEE Spectrum, Discover Magazine, and is currently working for Technology Review, published by MIT. He has written about security, privacy, intelligence gathering and engineering design as well as aerospace and other science and technology topics. Mr. Cass is a member of the IEEE and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts.
  • Frances S. Ligler, D.Phil.,D.Sc., USN Senior Scientist for Biosensors and Biomaterials, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.- Dr. Ligler has worked in the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering at the Naval Research Laboratory since 1985. Ten biosensors based on her inventions have been produced commercially, and her publications have over 6,700 citations. She is the 2009-2011 Chair of the Bioengineering Section of the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Ligler was the recipient of the 2003 Homeland Security Award in the Biological, Radiological, Nuclear field.
  • Steven D. Webster, Vice President of Advanced Technology Research and Development, AgustaWestland North America (AWNA), Reston, Virginia. Mr. Webster joined AgustaWestland North America in January 2009. He is responsible for North American Research and Technology opportunities for both the Commercial and Department of Defense product lines. He comes to AWNA from Bell Helicopter Textron and brings over 24 years of rotorcraft technology development experience.


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