Partnership facilitiates defense research

October 13, 2008

A partnership between Penn State and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is allowing students and faculty from Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) to work with the federal government and other universities to conduct cutting-edge research in military defense.

Penn State is one of about a dozen universities participating in DTRA's Student Research Associate Program (SRAP), which prepares graduate students from each school to help prepare a new generation of defense researchers. Penn State, the University of Florida and North Carolina A&T State universities collectively make up DTRA's Blue Team, one of three teams in the program.

DTRA members recently came to Penn State for a two-day summit on the Blue Team's status and faculty research that might be applicable to the organization's goals.

Presenters at the summit included John Yen, associate dean for research and graduate programs; David Hall, director of IST's Center for Network-Centric Cognition and Information Fusion; Frank Ritter, associate professor of IST and psychology; and C. Lee Giles, David Reese professor of IST, who each led breakout groups based on their research. The event was organized and facilitated by Jan Mahar, IST's manager of outreach programs.

"We have an excellent, on-going relationship with DTRA which has continued for three years," Hall said. "The highlight of this meeting was our celebration of interaction with our historical black college and university partners. This is an interesting and viable program for broadening the participation of historically underrepresented students in IST-related research."

A project conducted for DTRA last summer by IST graduate student Lahronda Turner examined the use of sensor networks on battlefields by creating 3-D virtual simulation environment for testing deployment strategy of sensor networks.

Turner collaborated with students at Tennessee State University on the summer project as part of the SRAP partnership. The students' research will enable DTRA to deploy a virtual environment with the use of smart cameras and sensors. It also will allow them to research scenarios that propose constraints on that environment in order to make it as efficient as possible.


Last Updated March 19, 2009