Welcome to Booster!
 Volume 2      March 2013
Message from the Director
Data, Policy, Visual Analytics - 
Over the past month, the importance of policy and data has received much attention within the government and media (e.g., Big Data and Governement conference in DC, impact and policies related to sequestration). Data-driven policy development and decision making is growing theme and trend. The impact of policy is normally projected and measured using data. Additionally, many federal funding agencies are involved in an effort to measure the impact of federal reserach spending, collecting metrics and analyzing this data (STAR Metrics program).
Visualization and interactive visual analytics play a key role in this entire process: from data analysis, to evaluating policy alternatives, to conveying to decision makers and the public the impact of and justification for policies. VACCINE researchers have been actively involved in developing tools for data-driven decision making and policy. Dr. Evert Lindquist, University of Victoria, has led VACCINE efforts in this area with conference panels and organizing a very successful VACCINE-sponsored workshop on this topic last summer. VACCINE has also been collaborating with several DHS agencies (e.g., US Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Immigration Service) on visual analytic tools for data driven decision making, policy impact and alternative evaluation, and resource allocation and projection based on policy. Finally, among the many additional relevant VACCINE activities, Dr. Kelly Gaither, University of Texas, recently testified before Congress on the impact of federal research funding policy (see story below).
If you are interested in finding our more about VACCINE's activities in this area or discussing a potential problem/project in this area, please contact me.

GARI  - Graffiti Recognition Tool
Graffiti is a language all its own, and not many of us are fluent. VACCINE has developed a Gang Graffiti Recognition and Analysis tool (GARI) to help decode the meaning behind grafitti. GARI is designed to aquire images and upload them to a central database. In this database, the images can be recorded, geolocated, annotated with information regarding the meaning of a symbol, and compared to other images to find similar matches. In using this technology, law enforcement officers across the country can maximize the expertise of a few gang experts. 
According to the FBI, there are approximately 33,000 gangs, composed of prison, street, and motorcycle gangs. These 33,000 gangs are composed of 1.4 million members. As gang populations increase, they have been known to spread from region to region, migrating across the country. The advangae of a central database and image aquisition system like GARI is that it provides a way to track gang movement by tracking the grafitti symbols used when a new gang appears. 
As gang viloence and activity is a threat to all citizens, the appearence of gang grafitti can often be a warning sign of increasing crime rates and viloent activities. In order to battle this activiy, its important to understand how and when these migrations occur and tracking gang grafitti .
The Importance of Funding
This past February, VACCINE partner Dr. Kelly Gaither testified before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Research for a hearing on “Applications for Information Technology Research & Development”. Dr. Gaither, an expert in data visualization, spoke regarding  the impact that federal funding has on her work. Dr. Gaither has worked on a number of projects over the years; ranging from developing training for future computational scientists, to providing solutions for researchers using the Texas Advanced Computing Center to facilitate their own varied research, to using data visualization of fluid flow over an aircraft to understand the dynamics.  Dr. Gaither related her experiences to make a case for continuing funding, stating “ I know that investments in research will keep us at the forefront of innovation”.  She further emphasized the need for research to be multidisciplinary when involving computational science, as well as the need to provide engaging opportunities for the next generation of researchers.
Dr. Gaither is the Director of Visualization for the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin. She joined the center in 2001 after receiving her PhD in Computational Engineering from Mississippi State University in 2000. For the full transcript of the testimony, click here
- On February 25th  Dr. John Stasko and Dr. David Ebert presented at the IDGA Big Data for Defense and Government conference in Washington DC.
- On March 19th CVADA presented the GARI tool for Gang Graffitti recognition to a congressional webinar. 
- On March 20th Dr. Joseph DiRenzo, Chief Operations Analysis Division - Coast Guard Atlantic Area, visited VACCINE’s lab at Purdue University and presented on Game Theory in a Maritime Security Environment.
- On April 11th VACCINE will be participating in the DHS Transitioning Workshop. The workshop will center on case studies from the various Centers of Excellence regarding transition, as well as some breakout groups with a variety of topics.
- On May 20th CVADA will be having a research retreat in Chicago.
- On July 29th through August 1st VACCINE will be hosting a MSI Visual Analytics Instructor Workshop this summer at Jackson State University in Mississippi. For more information contact us at vaccine@purdue.edu
- On November 13th and 14th VACCINE and the United States Coast Guard will be hosting the 2013 Maritime Risk Symposium in West Lafayette, Indiana.
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