Saturday, August 4, 2007

FCS, Doomsday Sims, Purdue U=PU


The first armed robots have hit the streets of Iraq and are now hunting evil-doers with high-powered M249 machine guns. The robots are called SWORDS, which stands for "Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System". Army focus groups apparently preferred this acronym over the more obvious PUBE (Predatory Unmanned Battle Engine). The robots are currently being piloted through the streets of Bagdad using remote control. According to an interview on CNET with Chief Army Scientist Thomas Killion however, the army soon plans to make the killing machines fully automatic. "The FCS [Future Combat Systems] program is demonstrating semiautonomous vehicles where they can do a lot of planning and execution on their own and they really only have to essentially call home to a soldier that's controlling it when it needs additional guidance."
The grim-looking murder bots are likely to fill the hole left in the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people when the British withdrew their blood-thirsty badgers.
Robots are also needed to fill the ranks of a military that is desperately short of troops and facing growing criticism over civilian deaths. While flesh-and-blood troops can be subject to embarrassing prosecutions, robots have an advantage that must surely appeal to the Bush administration. Being a robot means you never have to say you're sorry. (cont..)

Terminator technologies

With unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and ground-based Sword robots already in frequent use by the US military, the Pentagon is now hoping to refine its robotic warriors to the point where they are not controlled remotely by humans but by their own "consciences" in determining actions, including when to use lethal force.
There are two types of robot warriors: robots as extensions of human soldiers, in which human operators make all decisions relating to the use of deadly force, and the autonomous robot, which would make its own decisions on the same, based on programmed ethical principles.
This would require what Ronald Arkin of the Georgia Institute of Technology, who is working on the rules of engagement for these new soldier robots, describes as a "multidimensional mathematical decision-space of possible behavior actions." (Cont..)

*Purdue U (again!) See also:
Biometric border: Homeland Security eyes iris recognition

Identifying a terrorist traveling incognito among passengers in a crowded, busy airport can be a security challenge akin to looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.An Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) professor has received a $300,000 military grant to develop a video surveillance system for homeland security that uses a biometrics technique – iris recognition – to identify suspects seeking to avoid detection. (Cont..)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Aug. 3, 2007 - Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) recent participation in a joint military exercise will enhance its work with the U.S. Joint Forces Command to improve how military forces conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).
Northrop Grumman contributed its modeling, simulation and analysis expertise to Empire Challenge 07, a demonstration of how coalition forces can work together to collect, analyze and share information. The exercise, sponsored by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and involving multiple U.S. government agencies and coalition nations, was conducted July 9-27 at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif. (Cont..)

Doomsday Simulations Help U.S. Gird for Hurricanes, Terrorism

Aug. 3 (Bloomberg) -- The computer screen shows a toxic cloud rolling slowly over buildings, a visualization that permits scientists to record every lethal swirl and eddy and to calculate the toll for a city's residents.
It's a far cry from ``The Sims,'' an addictive computer game that lets users create a virtual universe. As displayed on computers nicknamed ``Coyote'' and ``Thunderbird,'' disaster simulations conducted under a $25 million program run by Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories are helping the U.S. government predict the impact of chemical or biological attacks, killer hurricanes, or accidents such as the collapse of the bridge on the main highway into Minneapolis.

For years, simulations have helped manage the nuclear- weapons stockpile and conduct war games. Now disaster planners are using them to create a ``virtual U.S.'' in which scientists gird for worst-case scenarios to test the vulnerability of the country's infrastructure, former White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke said.
Simulation programs permit scientists to ``imagine a whole series of events and one by one run the tests,'' said Clarke, an early booster of the technique. ``It's as close to reality as you can get.''
Spurred by the twin disasters of Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina, officials at the Department of Homeland Security have gotten the message. They're using graphic modeling to predict a disaster's human and economic toll, expose weak spots in defenses and train policy makers in improving their crisis responses. (Cont..)


Senate Armed Services Committee Approves Cartwright Nomination

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