CCICADA researchers gathered on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), on the quaint Hudson River Valley town of Troy, New York, in early May 2014 to participate in CCICADA’s Annual Research Retreat.
The two-and-one-half day event was attended by more than 50 researchers from ten partner universities including Rutgers University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Morgan State University, Howard University, Tuskegee University, Texas Southern University, University of Massachusetts-Lowell and Yale University.
Representatives from the US Coast Guard, a CCICADA partner agency, as well as Dr. Joseph Kielman and Ms. Emily Saulsgiver from the US Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate also participated in the Retreat.
Dr. Kielman and Dr. Fred Roberts, CCICADA Director, welcomed the participants and framed the event goals and structure. Participants agreed this was the best retreat we have ever had from the variety of topics covered and enthusiasm generated to the many great dialogues and potential new collaborations.
The 2014 Retreat Program included 18 presentations on current research activities in seven key areas, among them social media, text mining, US Coast Guard projects, cyber security, visualization analysis, and numerical methods and applications. During one session, 13 posters were presented covering trust, simulation modeling, disease events, flood mitigation, and management analysis, among other topics.
Presentations were made by four noted experts, who introduced participants to new and emerging research concepts and areas. They included:
- The Probability of “Exploit”: Predictive Analytics & Agile Security Management, presented by Richard Seiersen, GE Global Research, General Manager, Cyber Security & Privacy, GE Healthcare;
- Collaborative Training Tools for Emergency Restoration of Critical Infrastructure Systems, presented by David Mendonca, Associate Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute;
- The Lessons of Large Disasters for Humanitarian Logistics: Research Needs, José Holguín-Veras, William H. Hart Professor, Director of the Center for Infrastructure, Transportation and the Environment, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and
- Sustainable Human Environments, Fred S. Roberts, CCICADA Director, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
Organizers sought to engage the participants in dialogue on critical research and policy questions faced by the research community in the area of homeland security. A panel discussion was held on the subject of “Big Data” under the title How CCICADA Fits into the Big Data Landscape. Also held was an interactive session on how to define deterrence in the context of counter-terrorism strategies. Both sessions sparked a great deal of discussion and an ongoing exchange of ideas, adding to the long-term benefit of the Retreat.
Participants were treated to a tour of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC). Set on the rolling hills of the Hudson River Valley, EMPAC is home to world class concerts and other performances. The center is an architectural and technical marvel, designed with close attention to performance-hall acoustics.
This was truly a center-wide activity. Many thanks go to the members of the organizing committee: Al Wallace (RPI), Cindy Hui (RPI), Tom Sharkey (RPI), Eduard Hovy (CMU), William Pottenger (Rutgers), Dan Roth (UIUC), and James Wojtowicz (Rutgers). Thanks also to RPI for its support of the event and to the many participants who through their presentations, posters, questions, and dialogue contributed to the success of the event.
By all accounts, the 2014 CCICADA Research Retreat was a huge success. Next year’s Retreat, currently planned for Carnegie Mellon University, will have the challenge of following this amazing event.