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NEWS
Discovery Analytics Center Works To Expand Intelligence, National Security Connections
June 20, 2014

The Discovery Analytics Center has received more than $15 million in grants and contract research since its inception in 2011, with sponsors spanning across the government and industrial sectors.


Discovery Analytics Center researchers, from left, Nathan Self, Patrick Butler, and computer science professor Naren Ramakrishnan investigate an alert using the Early Model Based Event Recognition using Surrogates project’s dashboard. From here, they can forecast important events ranging from violent protests to the spread of contagious diseases.

Committed to solving knowledge discovery problems in areas of national interest such as intelligence analysis, sustainability and health informatics, Director Naren Ramakrishnan, the Thomas L. Phillips Professor of Engineering, and his team of 10 doctoral students have recently made the move to the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington to capitalize on its proximity to the forces that shape the future of our nation.

The Discovery Analytics Center is supported by the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech, and has a home in the computer science department of the College of Engineering.

The center will continue to have a strong presence at the Blacksburg campus. Chris North, an associate professor of computer science, will serve as associate director for the Blacksburg site. Chang-Tien Lu continues as the associate director for the center.

The Early Model Based Event Recognition using Surrogates project, known as EMBERS, has catalyzed the center’s recent expansion.

The effort is a three year, nearly $15 million research and development project sponsored by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity as part of the Open Source Indicators Program.

The Early Model Based Event Recognition using Surrogates project’s mission is to forecast significant societal events ranging from violent protests to the spread of contagious diseases by analyzing the billions of pieces of data in the ocean of public information such as tweets, website queries, restaurant cancellations, and even satellite imagery.

The Discovery Analytics Center comprises faculty and students from various disciplines, including computer science, electrical and computer engineering, statistics, and mathematics.

This story can be found on the Virginia Tech News website.


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