COSAM News Articles 2019 October Professors Awarded DIA Grants to Study Aerospace Threats

Professors Awarded DIA Grants to Study Aerospace Threats

Published: 10/16/2019

A pair of Auburn professors have been awarded two research contracts by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) through Huntsville partner companies.

Mark Carpenter, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, and Roy Hartfield, the Walt and Virginia Woltosz Professor of Aerospace Engineering, were awarded two contracts totaling $355,000 in a collaborative effort to develop statistical learning and physics-based approaches to expand the understanding of military threats.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with the DIA and our Huntsville partners on this project, in which we will develop tools aimed at maintaining the security of our nation,” Carpenter said. “Advanced physics methods fused with statistical learning tools can lead to discoveries about aerospace vehicles which have previously not been extractable with conventional threat assessment approaches.” 

Students discussing project.

The potential benefits of physics-anchored modeling and simulation for threat assessment have long been understood and exploited. However, these methods have matured to an asymptotic limit of extractable information in many cases, and the computational demands of these legacy methods are often incompatible with the time frames required for active operations.  The extension of these methods to big data applications using modern statistical learning and other advanced mathematical modeling approaches allow the analysist to identify and characterize aspects of threats not accessible to classical physics models alone. It is further expected that the current investigation will expose advanced analysis techniques with near real time threat assessment capabilities.

“The development of advanced statistical learning approaches for near real time aerospace vehicle characterization is exploiting advances in computationally efficient applied mathematics which have not previously been applied to threat assessment,” Hartfield said. “This advancement is enabled by the close collaboration of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics with the Aerospace Engineering Department.”

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