Article details

Research area
Natural language & AI

Aerospace conference, 2009 IEEE


Clifford Weinstein, William Campbell, Gerald O’Leary

Modeling and detection techniques for counter-terror Social network analysis and intent recognition


In this paper, we describe our approach and initial results on modeling, detection, and tracking of terrorist groups and their intents based on multimedia data [Popp 2006]. While research on automated information extraction from multimedia data has yielded significant progress in areas such as the extraction of entities, links, and events [Doddington 2004], less progress has been made in the development of automated tools for analyzing the results of information extraction to “connect the dots.” Hence, our Counter-Terror Social Network Analysis and Intent Recognition (CT-SNAIR) work focuses on development of automated techniques and tools for detection and tracking of dynamically-changing terrorist networks as well as recognition of capability and potential intent. In addition to obtaining and working with real data for algorithm development and test, we have a major focus on modeling and simulation of terrorist attacks based on real information about past attacks. We describe the development and application of a new Terror Attack Description Language (TADL), which is used as a basis for modeling and simulation of terrorist attacks. Examples are shown which illustrate the use of TADL and a companion simulator based on a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) structure to generate transactions for attack scenarios drawn from real events. We also describe our techniques for generating realistic background clutter traffic to enable experiments to estimate performance in the presence of a mix of data. An important part of our effort is to produce scenarios and corpora for use in our own research, which can be shared with a community of researchers in this area. We describe our scenario and corpus development, including specific examples from the September 2004 bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta and a fictitious scenario which was developed in a prior project for research in social network analysis. The scenarios can be created by subject matter experts using a graphical editing tool. Given a set of time ordered transactions between actors, we employ social network analysis (SNA) algorithms as a filtering step to divide the actors into distinct communities before determining intent. This helps reduce clutter and enhances the ability to determine activities within a specific group. For modeling and simulation purposes, we generate random networks with structures and properties similar to real-world social networks. Modeling of background traffic is an important step in generating classifiers that can separate harmless activities from suspicious activity. An algorithm for recognition of simulated potential attack scenarios in clutter based on Support Vector Machine (SVM) techniques is presented. We show performance examples, including probability of detection versus probability of false alarm tradeoffs, for a range of system parameters.

Best Paper Award Winner

Read/download now