Prolific WFU Researcher Retires

Article from the WFU Office of Research and Sponsored Programs 2013 Annual Report:

bobretirearticleBob Plemmons, Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of Computer Science/Mathematics, retiring from Wake Forest this year, has achieved continuous research funding since1968, when he was at the University of Tennessee, and later at NC State University, before coming here in 1990. Sponsors include the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Army Research Office (ARO), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Department of Energy (DOE), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Security Agency (NSA), and North Atlantic Treaty Office (NATO), often with multiple grants per year. He began biometrics projects for the intelligence agencies in 2002, shortly after the 9/11 attack. He is the model of contemporary team-science research in the national interest.

This year, in collaboration with the University of New Mexico and Duke, he continues work at least through 2014 on Comprehensive Space-object Characterization using Spectrally Compressive Polarimetric Imaging with funds from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). With increased deployment of ever-smaller satellites at various altitudes, present- day detection strategies are often inadequate. US space system operators must be able to determine the capabilities of potential adversaries, to warn of an attack, and to predict potential collisions and re-entry impact points. Space Situational Awareness (SSA) gives them four senses: laser-enabled vibrom- etry listens; chemical sensing with spectrometers sniffs; scatterometry and polarimetry provide surface texture information; and sequential speckle video im- aging sees. Hyperspectral and polarimetric imaging go deeper to characterize materials. This system-per- formance analysis is improving compressive sensor design and information transmission and formulating computationally efficient data postprocessing algo- rithms to identify space objects. An experimental program complements and validates project theory, simulation, and processing.

In collaboration with PI Paúl Pauca and Todd Torgersen, Computer Science, another continuing project, Implicit Geometry and Linear and Nonlinear Tensor-Based Compression and Restructuring of High- Dimensional Multimodality Data Sets, is supported by the NGA through the Boeing Company. It is devel- oping a novel framework for effective compression and restructuring of images emanating from many sources. Boeing’s IG technology is extremely effective for flexible 3D data representation with minimal loss of fidelity. Here, IG is used to enable fast compres- sion of LIDAR (light detection and ranging) data while facilitating object classification and identi- fication. Wake Forest investigators are conducting hyperspectral (imaging at numerous electromagnetic wavelengths) data analysis for object detection and identification, along with LiDAR data fusion.