Professor Edward Kaplan Receives Koopman Prize for Outstanding Publication in Military Operations Research
Edward H. Kaplan, the William N. and Marie A. Beach Professor of Management Sciences, Professor of Public Health, and Professor of Engineering was recently named the winner of the Koopman Prize for the outstanding publication in military operations research of the previous year, for his paper "Operational Effectiveness of Suicide-Bomber-Detector Schemes: A Best-Case Analysis," co-written with Moshe Kress, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The Koopman Prize is given by the Military Applications Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the largest professional society in the world for the field of operations research.
Kaplan and Kress, a professor of operations research at the Naval Postgraduate School, studied the operational effectiveness of suicide bomber detectors by modeling and comparing pedestrian suicide bombing attacks on random crowds in two urban settings ó a grid of city blocks and a large, open plaza. They assessed the probability of detecting a bomber in a timely fashion and calculated the expected numbers of casualties that would result with and without intervention.
The researchers found that the sensors could detect attackers in a timely fashion, but such performance required a dense field of sensors capable of detecting attackers in at least 70 to 80 percent of the terrain. To translate detection into fewer casualties, intervention (fleeing, falling to the ground) must occur quickly. The team found that in some cases, intervention could modestly reduce casualties, but in other situations, interventions could create even more casualties, as people fleeing from a crowd tend to spread out and increase the probability of being exposed to bomb fragments.
Kaplan and Kress recommend investing available resources in gathering intelligence to intercept suicide bombers before they attack.
(Read more about Kaplanís research and learn about the innovativeIndividual Problem Framing course he designed as part of the new Yale SOM core curriculum.)
The Koopman Prize will be given at the INFORMS National Meeting, November 5-8, 2006. Kaplan previously received the Koopman Prize in 2002 for his analysis of emergency responses to a smallpox bioterror attack.