Cover: Causal Models and Exploratory Analysis in Heterogeneous Information Fusion for Detecting Potential Terrorists

Causal Models and Exploratory Analysis in Heterogeneous Information Fusion for Detecting Potential Terrorists

Published Nov 17, 2015

by Paul K. Davis, David Manheim, Walter L. Perry, John S. Hollywood

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We describe research fusing heterogeneous information in an effort eventually to detect terrorists, reduce false alarms, and exonerate those falsely identified. The specific research is more humble, using synthetic data and first versions of fusion methods. Both the information and the fusion methods are subject to deep uncertainty. The information may also be fragmentary, indirect, soft, conflicting, and even deceptive. We developed a research prototype of an analyst-centric fusion platform. This uses (1) causal computational models rooted in social science to relate observable information about individuals to an estimate of the threat that the individual poses and (2) a battery of different methods to fuse across information reports. We account for uncertainties about the causal model, the information, and the fusion methods. We address structural and parametric uncertainties, including uncertainties about the uncertainties, at different levels of detail. We use a combination of (1) probabilistic and parametric methods, (2) alternative models, and (3) alternative fusion methods that include nonlinear algebraic combination, Bayesian inference, and an entropy-maximizing approach. This paper focuses primarily on dealing with deep uncertainty in multiple dimensions.

This paper is based on prior research sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

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