A professor in the Department of Mathematics at Colorado State University has been named recipient of the Colorado State University Research Foundation’s 2004 Technology Transfer Award, formerly titled the Researcher of the Year Award.
Aubrey Poore received the prestigious university award Thursday evening at the Foundation’s 18th Technology Transfer Awards Banquet. The award is presented annually to a top Colorado State researcher who has developed technology and had it successfully commercialized through patents and license agreements. The honor further recognizes individuals who display exemplary dedication to research and a determination to strive for excellence. Poore’s work has led to four patents and two pending patents.
Poore researches and develops extremely fast algorithms and other complex equations that allow military planes, ships, ground-based sensor systems and satellites to separate multiple objects on the ground, in the air and in space in fractions of seconds. The technology also instantly differentiates false targets from real targets in cluttered skies.
"Dr. Poore’s research represents a major advancement in the speed and accuracy of aeronautical radar systems and is improving airborne warnings and control systems on radar planes, space-based infrared systems, ships and early-warning radar systems," said Anthony Frank, vice president for research and information technology at Colorado State. "His ingenious technology tracks everything in the sky and instantly decides whether it is dangerous or not."
The Colorado State University Research Foundation and IBM jointly were awarded a U.S. patent on a portion of the technology in 1995 based on the initial research conducted by Poore and colleagues. Poore also has patents for subsequent improvements in 1996, 1999 and 2002 that are owned by CSURF.
In addition to teaching and research responsibilities at Colorado State, Poore heads Numerica, a small Fort Collins company employing several Colorado State graduates that strives to continually improve the technology for national missile defense and for tracking airplanes and ground targets. Numerica has licensed the patents from CSURF and is developing advanced tracking systems for the Missile Defense Agency for both radar and space based infrared systems and for the Departments of Navy and Air Force for air defense. An extension of this technology is being investigated by Numerica in the field of tracking viruses on the Internet and intrusion detection.
Radar typically used in military aircraft can separate and identify multiple objects in the air but only from a limited distance and in limited degrees. When air traffic is dense, it can take a substantial amount of time for an air traffic controller to match the behavior of an unknown object with an actual target. Poore’s technology isolates and identifies airborne objects even under conditions that create false targets on a radar screen – such as weather and other environmental conditions – and does so in a fraction of a second. This feature enables radar operators to track objects even as they pass through cluttered areas. The science behind the technology comes from a combination of many disciplines including mathematics, physics, statistics, computer science and electrical engineering.
Poore’s technology was tested extensively in the mid-1990s at Hanscom Air Force Base in Boston, Mass., and chosen in Sept. 1996 as the best tracking system for AWACS in a national competition. This tracking system is now incorporated into AWACS and on the Navy’s Multipurpose Helicopter. Poore’s research has been continually supported by the Mathematics and Geosciences Division of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome.
Lockheed-Martin Federal Systems won the right to install Poore’s technology into existing radar systems in 12 Air Force AWACS planes. The software has additionally been licensed through CSURF to Boeing in Seattle, Wash. In 1999, the technology was licensed and transitioned to Numerica.
While most of the technology’s applications currently are associated with defense applications, Poore has been contacted about using the technology to track salmon in the oceans and rivers of the Northwest, to track golf balls on golf courses, and to develop tracking systems for commercial aircraft when the beacon codes fail or for accident avoidance.
Poore received his bachelor’s in applied mathematics in 1968 and his master’s in engineering mechanics in 1969 from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned a doctorate in applied mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1973. Poore joined the faculty at Colorado State in 1973 and has been a full professor of mathematics since 1982.
Poore has taught a wide variety of courses in applied and numerical mathematics at both the undergraduate and graduate level. He has primarily taught courses in optimization and control and has directed graduate students in mathematics and electrical engineering. In 1990, he received the Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award for Research and Graduate Education.
Poore’s research has been focused in the area of computational control, parametric problems in optimization and control, and optimization problems in multi-target tracking and multi-sensor data fusion. He has served as principal investigator on contracts and grants from the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Martin Marietta and IBM. He is the author of 100 published articles and technical reports and is the associate editor of Journal of Computational Optimization and Applications.