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Four ISR faculty members will be conducting research in two new Multi-University Research Initiatives (MURIs) recently announced by the Department of Defense (DoD). Forty-one projects totaling $260 million in research funding were announced by DoD.

Distributed Learning and Information Dynamics in Networked Autonomous Systems

Professor John Baras (ECE/ISR), ISR Director Eyad Abed (ECE/ISR) and Assistant Professor Nuno Martins (ECE/ISR) will be participating in an Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) MURI, "Distributed Learning and Information Dynamics in Networked Autonomous Systems." Maryland's portion of the grant is $2,691,217. Georgia Tech is the lead institution, and Jeff Shamma, who was an ISR Distinguished Lecturer in February, is the principal investigator. Besides Maryland, other participating institutions are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University. This award was made in MURI category 16: Learning Decision Architectures for Intelligent Cooperative Control of Autonomous Systems.

The overall goal of this research project is to set a foundation that will enable advanced operations of teams of autonomous vehicles to learn and adapt in uncertain and hostile environments under effective utilization of communications resources. The research will include studies of learning under sparse communications, game theoretic learning, and on-line formation of desirable network architectures. The methodological advances and principles obtained in the project are expected to also have implications for key problems in social, economic and biological networks.

Figure-Ground Processing, Saliency and Guided Attention for Analysis of Large Natural Scenes

Professor Shihab Shamma (ECE/ISR) will contribute to an Office of Naval Research (ONR) MURI, "Figure-Ground Processing, Saliency and Guided Attention for Analysis of Large Natural Scenes." Maryland's portion of the grant is $1,333,215. Johns Hopkins University is the lead institution; besides Maryland, the other participants are Harvard University, Yale University and the California Institute of Technology. This award was made in MURI category 5: Bio-inspired Autonomous Agile Sensing and Exploitation of Regions of Interest within Wide Complex Scenes.

This MURI will advance the computational architecture of sensors in large acquisition systems so that surveillance tasks in large natural scenes with complex imagery can be better accomplished. Shamma's contribution will be to define regions of interest both spatially and perceptually; to describe how visual and auditory search on the perceptual objects is guided by bottom-up saliency and by top-down knowledge of target features; to to search among these potential targets with a specific goal in mind; and to transfer the knowledge obtained from the neurophysiology, perceptual psychophysics and neural modeling into algorithms and architectures for solving problems of relevance.

May 11, 2009

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