Computer science's Hammond receives DARPA grant

Dr. Tracy HammondDr. Tracy Hammond, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, has received a 2010 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Information Processing Techniques Office (DARPA IPTO) grant to design a remote system to assist in the rapid reassembly and reorganization of assault forces on the ground after airborne deployment."Careful planning maximizes the chance that paratroopers will land on the drop zone in the rough vicinity of their intended assembly areas," Hammond said. "However, even if this goes perfectly, paratroopers still land roughly 75 feet away from one another in unfamiliar terrain, typically at night, intermixed with many other units with their own assembly areas. The most highly trained units can take up to 2 hours to assemble under these conditions," Hammond said.Hammond proposes to develop a network of small, lightweight, wearable beacons that will replace existing methods of locating and assembling friendly units after airborne deployment. Current methods of post-drop organization have been proven to be restricted by factors such as line of sight, terrain, and ambient lighting conditions. Her research will also make the signaling process safe so that the beacons will not give away the positions of the soldiers."Ultimately this research will decrease the time it takes for airborne units achieve their objectives in the field," she saidDARPA has placed great importance on the developing of technologies that increase the speed and reliability of information gathering, processing, and dissemination across the battlefield. The IPTO funds cutting edge research in advanced information science, technology and systems that will have direct impact on current and future national security needs.