Search Theory in C4ISR Journal

The C4ISR Journal had a recent search theory article quoting me along with Larry Stone.  I'm quite honored, like the British company in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency:

...was the only British software company that could be mentioned in the same sentence as ... Microsoft.... The sentence would probably run along the lines of ‘...unlike ... Microsoft...’ but it was a start.

It's a good article, covering the undeniably exciting historical origins hunting U-boats, and looking at what may be a modern renaissance.  I think the article stretches to connect search theory with Big Data, but the author does note that when the data is visual, and you have humans scanning it for objects, there is a connection.  With planning, it could have been used to prioritize the Amazon Mechanical Turk search for Jim Gray.  (The resolution of the actual images in that search was probably too low regardless, but the core idea was sound.)

Around 2003 I did hear a presentation taking the first steps towards adapting search theory to graph search (i.e. social networks).  The authors proved some interesting theorems, but they admitted it was only a first step.  In my opinion that work was the best that day (including ours), but I don't think the funding agency was interested in theorems. I'm not sure if the work has continued.

NB: The line about my work with JIEDDO is slightly misleading.  It says, "Some of that research included trying to locate insurgents planting IEDs."  Some of JIEDDO's research no doubt did, but we at Mason concentrated more on models to find already implanted IEDs, or likely IED locations.  We used stock search theory to improve other models and simulations.  And while we deeply appreciated funding for Bayesian inference, we don't have much visibility into whether it got used.  (One of our analysts deployed, but he concentrated on the gains to be had by coordination.)

Anyway, happy for the mention, and happier still for possible broader interest in search theory.

PS: On that note, I've just heard that Chris Long is resurrecting the William Syrotuck search theory symposium at or alongside the 2014 NASAR conference!

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