Kinetic theory for the emergence of complex behavior in social and economic systems


Milind Tambe

University of Southern California


Security is a critical concern around the world, whether it’s the challenge of protecting ports, airports and other critical national infrastructure, or protecting wildlife/forests and fish, or suppressing crime in urban areas. In many of these cases, limited security resources prevent full security coverage at all times; instead, these limited resources must be scheduled, avoiding schedule predictability, while simultaneously taking into account different target priorities, the responses of the adversaries to the security posture and potential uncertainty over adversary types. Computational game theory can help design such unpredictable security schedules. Indeed, casting the problem as a Bayesian Stackelberg game,we have developed new algorithms that are now deployed over multiple years in multiple applications for security scheduling: for the US coast guard in Boston and New York (and now getting deployed at other ports), for the Federal Air Marshals(FAMS), for the Los Angeles Airport Police, with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department for patrolling metro trains, with further applications under evaluation for the TSA and other agencies. These applications are leading to real-world use-inspired research in the emerging research area of “security games”; specifically, the research challenges posed by these applications include scaling up security games to large-scale problems, handling significant adversarial uncertainty, dealing with bounded rationality of human adversaries, and other interdisciplinary challenges. I will provide an overview of my research's group's work in this area, outlining key algorithmic principles, research results, as well as a discussion of our deployed systems and lessons learned.