The Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences Colloquium Series presents

“Security and Game Theory: Key Algorithmic Principles, Deployed Applications, Lessons Learned”
with Milind Tambe, Professor of Computer Science and Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Southern California

Thursday, April 25, 2013
4:00–5:00 p.m.
Social Science Plaza A, Room 2112 (Luce Conference Room)

Security is a critical concern around the world, whether it is the challenge of protecting ports, airports and other critical national infrastructure, or protecting wildlife/forests and fish, or suppressing crime in urban areas. In many of these cases, limited security resources prevent full security coverage at all times. Instead, these limited resources must be allocated and scheduled efficiently, avoiding schedule predictability, while simultaneously taking into account an adversary's response to the security coverage, the adversary's preferences and potential uncertainty over such preferences and adversary's capabilities.

Computational game theory can help us build decision-aids for such efficient security resource allocation. Indeed, casting the security allocation problem as a Bayesian Stackelberg game, new algorithms have been developed that are deployed over multiple years in multiple applications: for the US coast guard in Boston, New York and Los Angeles (and now getting deployed at other ports), for the Federal Air Marshals (FAMS), for the Los Angeles Airport Police, with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, with further applications under evaluation for the TSA and other agencies. These applications are leading to real-world use-inspired research in the emerging research area of “security games:” these research challenges include scaling up security games to large-scale problems, handling significant adversarial uncertainty, dealing with bounded rationality of human adversaries, and other interdisciplinary challenges. Tambe will provide an overview of his research group's work in this area, outlining key algorithmic principles, research results, as well as a discussion of deployed systems and lessons learned.

This is joint work with a number of former and current PHD students, postdocs, and other collaborators, all listed at:

For further information, please contact Janet Phelps, or 949-824-8651.

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