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Imaging for Detection and Identification (NATO Security through Science Series B: Physics and Biophysics)

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The chapters in this volume were presented at the July–August 2006 NATO Advanced Study Institute on Imaging for Detection and Identification. The conference was held at the beautiful Il Ciocco resort near Lucca, in the glorious Tuscany region of northern Italy. For the eighth time we gathered at this idyllic spot to explore and extend the reciprocity between mathematics and engineering. The dynamic interaction between world-renowned scientists from the usually disparate communities of pure mathematicians and applied scientists which occurred at our seven previous ASI’s continued at this meeting.

The fusion of basic ideas in mathematics, radar, sonar, biology, and chemistry with ongoing improvements in hardware and computation offers the promise of much more sophisticated and accurate 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 image processing scientists in these usually diverse fields to join together in a concerted effort to combat the new brands of terrorism. This ASI was one important initial step.

To encompass the diverse nature of the subject and the varied backgrounds of the participants, the ASI was divided into three broadly defined but interrelated areas: the mathematics and computer science of automatic detection and identification; image processing techniques for radar and sonar; detection of anomalies in biomedical and chemical images. A deep understanding of these three topics, and of their interdependencies, is clearly crucial to meet the increasing sophistication of those who wish to do us harm. The principal speakers and authors of the following chapters include many of the world’s leading experts in the development of new imaging methodologies to detect, identify, and prevent or respond to these threats.

The ASI brought together world leaders from academia, government, and industry, with extensive multidisciplinary backgrounds evidenced by their research and participation in numerous workshops and conferences. This forum provided opportunities for young scientists and engineers to learn more about these problem areas, and the crucial role played by new insights, from recognized experts in this vital and growing area of harnessing mathematics and engineering in the service of a world-wide public security interest. An ancillary benefit will be the advancement of detection and identification capabilities for natural threats such as disease, natural disasters, and environmental change.

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