Conference this week at Purdue focuses on managing disasters

October 7, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Experts from the U.S. Coast Guard, academia, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies will gather for a two-day conference beginning Wednesday (Oct. 7) to discuss the latest in technologies to respond to and better manage the aftermath of natural and human-caused disasters.

The annual meeting of Visual Analytics for Command, Control and Interoperability Environments, or VACCINE, will be held in the Kurz Purdue Technology Center at the Purdue  Research Park in West Lafayette. VACCINE director David Ebert, Silicon Valley Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will present opening remarks at 9 a.m. Wednesday, followed by introductory remarks by Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski.

The list of participants includes retired Vice Adm. Rob Parker of the U.S. Coast Guard; Markus Montezemolo from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fraud Detection & National Security Directorate; Gregory Pejic from the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Eugene Spafford, a cybersecurity expert and a Purdue professor of computer science; John Cox, chief of the Purdue Police Department; Pat Flannelly, chief of the Lafayette Police Department; Arvin Copeland, director of Response and Recovery at the Indiana Department of Homeland Security; Rudy Zupanc, watch commander at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Hub; Edward Delp, Purdue's Charles William Harrison Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Matt Clark, director of the University Programs Science and Technology Directorate at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

VACCINE concentrates on developing new methods to aid homeland security personnel in preparing for, preventing, detecting, responding to and recovering from natural and human-caused crises. Researchers at VACCINE are developing interactive software algorithms that create visualizations, graphics and maps with essential information to help emergency personnel who use a variety of devices, from office desktop computers to mobile phones in the field.

Topics to be discussed during the Purdue homeland security conference will range from the first responders of the future, training the next-generation workforce, future of visual analytics, training and potential research areas in emergency preparedness, response and recovery issues.

The conference will include training sessions for tools including GARI, which enables cellphones and other portable devices to translate the meaning of gang graffiti for law enforcement. GARI stands for Gang Graffiti Automatic Recognition and Interpretation. The system uses image-analysis algorithms to translate the graffiti. Pictures are sent to a server for analysis. Because the process is image-intensive, it will require far more bandwidth once widely adopted. 

Writer: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709,  

Source: David Ebert, 765-494-9064, 

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