Seminars & Colloquia

Randy K. Avent

Office of Basic Research - Office of Secretary of Defense

"Data Analytics for National Security Applications"

Monday April 18, 2011 09:30 AM
Location: 3211, Engineering Building II NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)


An emerging challenge for both industry and government is the exponential growth in data available for decision support. This growth is driven by advances in sensors and storage technology and has spawned entirely new industries in business intelligence, personalized medicine, bioinformatics and scientific exploration. The result is a growing economic sector that employs advanced analytics and information management technologies to efficiently store, manage and exploit relevant data.
Many defense mission areas also face an exponential growth in the data available for military decision making. Space situational awareness, anti-submarine warfare, counter air surveillance and ballistic missile defense are just a few examples where the defense science and technology community has successfully provided a data advantage through the proliferation of multi-spectral high-resolution sensors in a networked architecture. Today's challenge is to deliver tools that provide a decision advantage.
This talk will highlight some of the author's work across the sensor and signal processing chain associated with national security decision support systems. Special emphasis will be given to back-end signal processing applications, or analytics, for various sensing modalities.


Short Bio:
Dr. Randy K. Avent currently serves as the Chief Scientist in the Office of Basic Research, where he oversees science programs and develops strategic plans for future basic research investments. Previously, he was the Associate Chief Technology Officer at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory. There, he was responsible for creating and executing strategic initiatives that aligned MIT with emerging application- and curiosity-driven research opportunities. He was also involved in fostering technology transition, managing internal research investments and leading a strategic committee that responded to critical issues surrounding the growth, administration and fiscal management of the Laboratory. 
Dr. Avent has a broad range of interests and has done research in many areas including computer science, life sciences and electrical engineering. The majority of his work, however, has been in defense. He has held several leadership and principal investigator positions at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and has been an influential figure in radar signal processing and data analytics for national security applications. He made significant contributions to the field of Automatic Target Recognition for both stationary and moving vehicles. He was responsible for early work in context inclusion and developed the concept of using patterns of life analysis for space-borne microwave sensing. He started two new research groups at MIT/LL that addressed key issues in analytics, data fusion, visualization and airborne communications and networking. 
Dr. Avent received his B.S. degree in Zoology from the University of North Carolina in 1980. He also received an M.S. degree from North Carolina State University, in Electrical Engineering, in 1986, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of North Carolina, in Biomedical Engineering and Mathematics, in 1984 and 1986, respectively. He is a graduate of the Boston Executive Program at MIT's Sloan School of Management, a Senior Member of the IEEE and chair of the IEEE Sensors Council. He has led several national panels in the areas of Computer Science, Cognitive Technology and Signal Processing.

Host: Mladen A. Vouk, Computer Science, NCSU

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