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Unexploded Ordnance Detection and Mitigation
20 July--2 August 2008, Il Ciocco, Italy
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Meeting Purpose
The detection and neutralization of unexploded ordnance (UXO) has been of major concern for very many decades; at least since the First World War. UXO continues to be the subject of intensive research in many fields of science, including mathematics, signal processing (mainly radar and sonar) and chemistry. While today's headlines emphasize the mayhem resulting from the placement of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), humanitarian landmine clearing continues to draw significant global attention as well. In many countries of the world, landmines threaten the population and hinder reconstruction and fast, efficient utilization of large areas of the mined land in the aftermath of military conflicts. Current estimates state that there are about 100 million unexploded mines in more than 60 countries, and that roughly 30 thousand people per year, a large percentage of whom are innocent civilians, are killed or maimed globally. Moreover, the injury rate among those searching for and attempting to disarm mines, even outside war zones, is as high as one casualty per one hundred mines. The combination of basic ideas in mathematics, radar, sonar, and chemistry with ongoing improvements in hardware and computation, as well as very new advances in multisensor data fusion, offers the promise of more sophisticated and accurate UXO detection and identification capabilities than currently exist. Coupled with the dramatic rise in the need for surveillance in innumerable aspects of our daily lives, brought about by hostile acts deemed unimaginable only a few short years ago, the time is ripe for scientists in these usually diverse fields to join together in a concerted effort to combat both the new brands of terrorism and the long-standing existence of UXOs throughout the world. We envisage this ASI as one important step.
To encompass the diverse nature of the subject and the varied backgrounds of the anticipated participants, the ASI will involve two broadly defined but interrelated areas:
I. Mathematical, computer science, chemical and signal processing technologies for automatic detection and identification;
II. Robotic and other methods for safe neutralization and removal of UXOs.
A deep understanding of these topics, and of their interdependency, is clearly crucial to meet the challenges resulting from both the widespread existence of UXOs and the increasing sophistication of those who wish to do us harm. The list of fully committed principal speakers includes many of the world's leading experts in these areas.
The ASI will bring together world leaders from academia, Government and industry, with extensive multidisciplinary backgrounds evidenced by their research and participation in numerous workshops and conferences. This will create an interactive forum for initiating new and intensifying existing efforts aimed at furthering the required interdisciplinary approach to the automatic identification and mitigation of UXOs. The forum will provide opportunities for young scientists and engineers to learn more about these problem areas, and the vital role played by new mathematical and scientific insights, from the recognized experts in this crucial and growing area of both pure and applied science. An ancillary benefit will be the advancement of detection and identification capabilities for natural threats such as disease, natural disasters, and environmental change.
The directors will ensure that the talks are designed to address an audience consisting of a broad spectrum of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians involved in these fields. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with those individuals who have been on the forefront of the ongoing intense work in UXO detection and mitigation, to learn firsthand the details and subtleties of this important and exciting area, and to hear these experts discuss in accessible terms their contributions and ideas for future research. Furthermore, the team-authored textbook to be written by the lecturers will offer these insights to those unable to attend.
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