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Purdue students contribute to Coast Guard

May 20, 2013


Purdue graduate students contributed to the development of a program to advance recovery from a hurricane.

Researchers at Purdue with Visual Analytics for Command, Control and Interoperability Environments (VACCINE), part of the Purdue Research Park, developed a system to increase efficiency in United States Coast Guard operations called Coast Guard Search and Rescue Visual Analytics, also known as cgSARVA. David Ebert, director of VACCINE, said the system allows the United States Coast Guard to be more aware of their resources.


“The system allows them to analyze the data of the missions, such as their search and rescue missions,” Ebert said. “It also allows them to see the coverage of where all (of) their stations can respond and how it takes them to respond.”

The Coast Guard Search and Rescue Visual Analytics helped following Superstorm Sandy by analyzing the data and determining the most efficient way to execute rescue missions and repairing the damaged stations.

“Right after Superstorm Sandy they needed to determine what resources they needed to send up to the New York (and) New Jersey area in dealing with the damaged coast guard stations,” Ebert said. “They were able to use our system to look at all (of) the search and rescue operations ... they initially thought they would need to spend hours looking at resources, but in a few minutes they could instantly look at (the data).”

Yang Yang, a graduate student in the College of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was one of the graduate students in charge of the development of the project.

“I first started working on cgSARVA during the summer of my junior year through Purdue’s summer undergraduate research fellowship program,” Yang said. “After I got into the Master’s program at Purdue and continued to work as a graduate research assistant at the VACCINE center, I became one of the two graduate students who are in charge of the whole development of the project.”

In addition to assisting on the project, Yang was able to use his idea for an original feature to increase efficiency within the system.

“I got a chance to implement my idea of a clock feature,” Yang said. “(It) helps to enhance the temporal analysis of the system by exploring the patterns and trends of the Coast Guard operations on a 24-hour basis.”

The project was a milestone in the careers of the graduate students considering the impact cgSARVA had on the Coast Guard, who now utilize the system on a daily basis.

“It was a very exciting and rewarding experience to be able to work on such a project that is currently being used by the Coast Guard every day,” Yang said. “Instead of just making some application with fast algorithms, we are trying to understand and present real world data in a meaningful way and make our application as user-friendly as possible that allows our end users to perform their job better.”

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