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November 5, 2003

Purdue's Homeland Security Institute to develop 'critical resources'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The newly named director of Purdue University's Homeland Security Institute aims to use the university's research and computing resources to develop responses to threats in Indiana, nationally and even internationally.

While Alok Chaturvedi (a-LOK CHA-tur-vedy), a Krannert School associate professor of management information systems, officially became director of the university's Homeland Security Institute on Oct. 1, his interest in counterterrorism dates to 1997. That summer, Chaturvedi ran a "war games" computer simulation at a workshop sponsored by the Institute for Defense Analysis in Washington, D.C. The players – high-level military, government and business executives – played out a cyberterrorism scenario. The purpose of the simulation was to learn how governments, businesses and the economy would react if terrorists attacked telephone networks.

Since then, Chaturvedi and his Purdue associates have held regular simulations using the technology, dubbed Synthetic Environment of Analysis and Simulation (SEAS). In July, officials from federal, state and local agencies tested responses to a bioterrorism crisis in a simulation on campus using hand-held wireless computers linked to supercomputers at Purdue and Indiana University. Purdue and IU's high-performance computers are connected through the state's I-Light network, the optical-fiber network that links Purdue, IU and IUPUI computer systems.

"Purdue brings tremendous strengths that can become critical resources in the nation's homeland security efforts," Chaturvedi said. "We have world-class expertise in cybersecurity, the power grid, food and plant safety, biotechnology and nanotechnology research, and infrastructure, ranging from roads to sensor technology."

Purdue Provost Sally Mason said, "Purdue's faculty members are engaged in high-technology research that can keep the nation safer. By creating and supporting an administrative structure, Purdue has created a home base for the ongoing research on campus and can encourage more efforts in the area of homeland security."

Dennis Engi, professor and head of industrial engineering, directed the Homeland Security Institute in its formative stages and will serve as a consulting scientist in the new structure.

Purdue's Homeland Security Institute has initiated partnerships with other universities, including IU, Princeton, Rice and Cornell; local and state agencies, including the cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette, the Indiana Counter Terrorism and Security Council, the Ports of Indiana and the Indiana Health Industry Forum; and businesses, including Eli Lilly & Co., Roche Diagnostics Corp., Raytheon and Arnett Clinic.

Chaturvedi, who received his bachelor's degree from B.I.T. Ranchi (India) and his master's degree and doctorate in management information systems and computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is director of the Purdue e-Business Research Center. His research, in synthetic environments, terascale grid computing, computational models of human behavior and homeland security simulations, has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund and the Office of Naval Research.

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077, mlillich@purdue.edu

Sources: Alok Chaturvedi, (765) 494-9048, alok@purdue.edu

Sally Mason, (765) 494-9709, sfmason@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: A publication-quality photograph of Alok Chaturvedi is available at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/++Mugshots/+krannert.mugs/chaturvedi.a.jpeg

Related story:

Purdue to plan new homeland security institute


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