Spring 2018 Problem Sets


Long Range Face Recognition


Special Operations Forces (SOF) operators struggle to identify individuals of interest in biometric watch lists. A camera at a great distance, such as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), might pick up imagery of individuals. However, the operator cannot recognize the individual from extended distances and match accurately against imagery of individuals of interest in biometric watch lists. Currently, there is no mature low size, weight, and power (SWaP) capability for long range facial recognition at distances of over 500 meters. Such technology would enable intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (SR) at long ranges, minimizing risk of discovery to the operator. In order to do so, the robust system would need sufficient hardware to image the face at sufficient resolution, and processing software/algorithms that correct for atmospheric turbulence. The goal is facial detection and recognition in real or near real-time with constrained computing resources.


Ground Unit Subterranean Awareness


During times of war, adversaries of the United States (U.S.) employ subterranean structures and networks to hide resources, launch attacks, shelter from attacks, and move around the battlefield undetected. U.S. and coalition forces discover these structures and networks in disadvantageous circumstances such as while clearing an area after a hard-won fight or by suffering from the advantages they provide to the enemy, namely the ability to fire from a protected and undetected location or the ability to mount an attack from behind. As a result, movement of ground forces across the battlefield is slowed down, which further endangers the units. Additionally, upon discovery of a subterranean structure or network, there is no way for a unit to share the location of the structure or its characteristics with other forces.


Greenhouse gas footprint for local transportation


Transportation in cars, trucks, and aircraft is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, about 27%. Reducing their use improves air quality, reduces emissions, and saves energy. Federal agencies such as the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) collect data from across the country; however, local municipalities and regions do not take their emission footprint into account when making city and transportation planning decisions.


Rapidly Deployable Protection


In urban, operational environments, the need for protection for US soldiers is increasing as lethal and nonlethal combat resources are becoming more readily available to irrational actors. Soldiers currently deploy at least ten different products, however, the level of protection and weight of the materials range a great amount. Lighter and stronger materials are necessary to meet the need to reduce the load and increase the level of protection.

The Engineering Research and Development Center within the US Army Corps of Engineers would like to explore how to develop a rapidly deploy-able protection system that provides better personal protection to dismounted troops and that additionally connects together to form a larger structure when needed.


Games for Cyber Defense


As global cyber threats evolve and traditional solutions are no longer robust or scalable enough to provide the answer, the US Government needs to explore creative ways to counter its adversaries. One possible strategy is to deploy games for cyber defense, a process which is also known as “Gamification.” According to the Gamification Summit of 2013, the term is defined as “using game mechanics and game thinking to engage users and to solve problems.” Gamification has been shown to increase attention span, focus, and motivation of participants, and gamified environments have contributed towards domain analysis exploration, and even solving world hunger.

To see full details of proposed problem sets please click below:

Problem Sets Spring 2018