Quebec, Canada

Defence Research and Development Canada, also DRDC , is an agency of the Department of National Defence , whose purpose is to provide the Canadian Armed Forces , other government departments, and public safety and national security communities with the knowledge and technology needed to defend and protect Canada’s interests at home and abroad.DRDC has approximately 1,400 employees across eight research centres within Canada. Wikipedia.

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News Article | December 1, 2016

High-resolution brain scans analyzed by machine learning algorithms could determine whether a patient has a concussion, according to a new study published in PLOS Computational Biology. Currently, doctors diagnose concussions according to patient-reported symptoms, which can be challenging and inefficient. Previous studies have used high-resolution imaging to show that concussions cause changes in communication between different brain areas. However, these studies have typically only looked at average changes across groups of patients. Vasily Vakorin, now of Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, and colleagues (from the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto and Defense Research and Development Canada) investigated whether high-resolution imaging could be combined with machine learning algorithms to detect concussions in the brains of individual patients. The researchers scanned the brains of men with and without concussion using magnetoencephalography (MEG), which records brain activity at fast time scales. MEG imaging showed that patients with concussions had distinctive changes in communication among areas of their brains. Then, by employing machine learning algorithms, the scientists were able to use individual brain scans to work backwards and predict whether a given patient had a concussion or not. They were able to detect concussions with 88% accuracy. This approach also accurately predicted the severity of symptoms reported by individual patients. "Changes in communication between brain areas, as detected by magnetoencephalography, allowed us to detect concussion from individual scans, in situations wherein typical clinical imaging tools such as MRI or CT fail," says study coauthor Sam Doesburg. Future research could refine understanding of the specific neural changes associated with concussions in order to improve detection, inform treatment, and monitor recovery. In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS Computational Biology: http://journals. Funding: This work was supported by the Canadian Forces Health Services and funding from Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) (contract # W7719-135182/001/TOR) to MJT and EWP. The funders had no role in study. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

News Article | February 15, 2017

Light detection and ranging—i.e., LiDAR, a method that uses pulsed laser light—relies on 3D laser scanners. These scanners are used in a large variety of manned and autonomous applications that require real-time 3D-perception sensors for obstacle detection and avoidance. 3D laser scanners that can operate in harsh environments and conditions with poor visibility are particularly desirable. For example, one application for such a device could augment the situational awareness of helicopter pilots as they land in unprepared terrain, where the downwash of the rotors can cause poor visibility by stirring dust, sand, or snow on the ground.1, 2 In addition to penetrating obscurants, such a scanner would ideally be capable of achieving a high enough resolution to enable the detection of small objects that could cause damage to a helicopter, such as wires, metal rods, and fence posts. It is equally important for such a LiDAR system to cover a large field of view (FOV). These requirements are difficult to implement in a single compact system. For example, in one existing approach, a LiDAR is mounted on mechanical gimbals to steer a small field of view in different directions. However, this approach adds weight, volume, complexity, and cost to the system. It also introduces additional uncertainties that arise as a result of errors in the angular positions of the gimbals. Our work seeks to overcome these issues, and to meet the demands for a robust LiDAR system. We have therefore developed a unique and innovative approach based on the use of compact optical components in which a small-FOV scan pattern can be steered within a larger field of regard (FOR). For this purpose, Neptec has developed 3D laser scanners (i.e., OPAL) that can penetrate dense obscurant conditions considerably better than the naked eye. The OPAL scanner uses Risley prism-pair technology, where two superimposed prisms are independently rotated by hollow shaft motors. A laser pulse traveling through the hollow shaft motors is bent by the rotating prisms to form a scan pattern that comprises several rosettes. This implementation offers a number of advantages, including a multitude of possible scan patterns, rapid generation of non-overlapping patterns, and a conical FOV with very high data density around its center. The geometric and material properties of the prisms define the conical FOV of the LiDAR, which can typically be set between 30 and 120°. Ideally, the operator of such a system would be able obtain very high data density at a particular location, with the additional flexibility of being able to quickly move this high-density FOV to another area within the FOR. As the result of a collaboration between Neptec and Defence Research and Development Canada, we have together developed a unique scanner prototype using double pairs of Risley prisms3 that achieves this aim. The first prism pair generates a 30° FOV, which may then be steered within a larger 90° FOR by employing the second pair of prisms. This setup has the advantage of a high-resolution scan-pattern footprint that can be moved quickly and randomly within a larger area, thereby eliminating the need for mechanical steering equipment. Moreover, the FOR is not limited to 90° and can be extended to something on the order of 120°. An illustration of this arrangement is shown in Figure 1(a), and a photo of our double Risley pair (DRP) scanner prototype is shown in Figure 1(b). In terms of its operational capabilities, our DRP can be used aboard an aircraft for a range of operations. For example, the system can scan a landing zone with high-resolution information, thereby increasing the chance of detecting small threatening obstacles (e.g., posts or wires). The system also offers a station-keeping capability, where the aircraft motions are compensated by the steering mechanism to keep the LiDAR FOV locked on an area of interest. The DRP could also be employed for tracking a small moving object in the FOR. Additionally, it could be moved by an operator to steer the high-resolution FOV to chosen locations, or over random spots by a computer program. Figure 2(a) shows LiDAR data obtained with our DRP prototype. In this application, the small 30° FOV is moved horizontally across the larger 90° FOR. The two sectors shown in Figure 2(b) correspond to the high-density FOV being steered to scan locations on either side of the overall FOR. The resulting data is color-coded to show the elevation of objects in the scene, where red- and blue-colored areas correspond to objects at lower and higher elevations, respectively. In summary, we have produced a compact LiDAR that is capable of steering a small, high-resolution FOV within a larger FOR, without the need for additional heavy and costly mechanical systems. As part of our on-going efforts, we will test our prototype aboard aircraft to determine its performance in poor visibility (i.e., caused by dust and snow). The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from Public Works and Government Services Canada under contract W7701-145836/001/MTB.

Hu A.,Defence Research and Development Canada
Journal of physics. Condensed matter : an Institute of Physics journal | Year: 2011

High pressure ab initio evolutionary structure searches resulted in a hydronitrogen solid with a composition of (NH)(4). The structure searches also provided two molecular isomers, ammonium azide (AA) and trans-tetrazene (TTZ) which were previously discovered experimentally and can be taken as molecular precursors for high pressure synthesis of the hydronitrogen solid. The computed pressure versus enthalpy diagram showed that the transformation pressure to the hydronitrogen solid is 36 GPa from AA and 75 GPa from TTZ. Its metastability was analyzed by the phonon dispersion spectrum and room-temperature vibrational density of state together with the transformation energy barrier back to molecular phases at 298 K. The predicted energy barrier of 0.21 eV/atom means that the proposed hydronitrogen solid should be very stable at ambient conditions.

Osczevski R.,Defence Research and Development Canada
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society | Year: 2014

The groundbreaking book The Case for Mars (Zubrin 1996) advocates human exploration and colonization of the red planet. One of its themes is that Mars is beset by dragons of the sort that ancient mapmakers used to draw on maps in unexplored areas. The dragons of Mars are daunting logistical and safety challenges that deter human exploration. One such dragon must surely be its weather, for Mars sounds far too cold for human life. Air temperature alone is often a poor indicator of how cold the weather might feel. Wind, for example, makes a big difference to the thermal sensation at any temperature. The mathematical model used for this calculation was developed in 2001 to calculate the values in the wind chill equivalent temperature (WCET) chart for North America. In terms of heat loss rate, surface temperature, and cold sensation, EET is identical to the familiar WCET that is reported each winter across much of North America. It therefore provides a familiar context for assessing the rigors of weather on another planet, in this case Mars.

Peng H.T.,Defence Research and Development Canada
Journal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials | Year: 2010

Thromboelastography (TEG) is drawing more attention for clinical and in vitro studies of blood coagulation. It can be applied to evaluate the effects of both blood-soluble and insoluble biomaterials on whole blood coagulation from the beginning of coagulation through clot formation to the ending with fibrinolysis. TEG may also identify the relative contributions of various clotting factors, such as fibrinogen and platelets, to the overall coagulation process based on profiles of its variables using whole and partial blood components. A comprehensive review has been conducted on its applications for the assessment of a wide range of blood-contacting biomaterials ranging from polymers to ceramics and biomedical devices involved in many applications. The methodology is different in terms of instrumentation, the methods to activate blood coagulation, the type of blood (citrated versus fresh blood), and study settings (in vitro, in vivo, and clinical trials). The author's own work and future directions are discussed as well. TEG should be considered as one of the most useful tools for evaluating in vitro and in vivo blood-biomaterial interactions for different applications. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Treurniet J.,Defence Research and Development Canada
ACM Computing Surveys | Year: 2014

A mobility model is used to generate the trajectories of mobile nodes in simulations when developing new algorithms for mobile networks. A model must realistically reflect the scenario in which the technology will be used to reliably validate the algorithm. Considerable progress has been made toward realistic mobility models in the academic literature, and models have become quite complex. A consistent taxonomy has not yet been established for this field. A new multifaceted taxonomy is presented in this work that provides a framework for authors to clearly and consistently describe their models, making them easier to understand and reproduce. By surveying the application field of mobile communication networks, a common nomenclature and a high-level view of existing literature are provided, which are required to reduce duplication of effort and to enable a better sense of the way forward. A tactical scenario demonstrates the application of the taxonomy to model construction. © 2014 ACM.

Treurniet J.,Defence Research and Development Canada
IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking | Year: 2011

Internet traffic is neither well-behaved nor well-understood, which makes it difficult to detect malicious activities such as scanning. A large portion of scanning activity is of a slow scan type and is not currently detectable by security appliances. In this proof-of-concept study, a new scan detection technique is demonstrated that also improves our understanding of Internet traffic. Sessions are created using models of the behavior of packet-level data between host pairs, and activities are identified by grouping sessions based on patterns in the type of session, the IP addresses, and the ports. In a 24-h data set of nearly 10 million incoming sessions, a prodigious 78% were identified as scan probes. Of the scans, 80% were slower than basic detection methods can identify. To manage the large volume of scans, a prioritization method is introduced wherein scans are ranked based on whether a response was made and on the periodicity of the probes in the scan. The data is stored in an efficient manner, allowing activity information to be retained for very long periods of time. This technique provides insight into Internet traffic by classifying known activities, giving visibility to threats to the network through scan detection, while also extending awareness of the activities occurring on the network. © 2011 IEEE.

Kirkland D.,Defence Research and Development Canada
IET Radar, Sonar and Navigation | Year: 2011

The use of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for moving target imaging has recently attracted a great deal of interest. The ability to obtain focused images of moving targets makes it possible to maximise the use of existing single-channel SAR systems, without upgrading to more complex and expensive multi-channel systems. In this study, a novel technique is presented for moving target imaging utilising a single-channel SAR operating in Spotlight mode. First, the second-order keystone transform is applied to remove range curvature. Next, a non-linear phase correction is applied to correct the remaining range walk. Finally, the nominally quadratic phase in azimuth is estimated and corrected to provide focused imagery. An experimental result is presented to demonstrate the performance of this approach. © Crown Copyright Published with kind permission of the Canadian government.

Moo P.W.,Defence Research and Development Canada
IET Radar, Sonar and Navigation | Year: 2011

The radar detection of high-velocity targets with a multiple-element antenna array is considered. The detection performance of multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) radar with orthogonal waveforms is compared with that of a radar using a directed beam. An analytical expression for the probability of detection for a radar with a multiple-element array is derived. For high-velocity targets, the decrease in probability of detection because of the longer integration time required for MIMO radar is quantified. It is shown that for lower-velocity targets, sector search using orthogonal waveforms results has similar detection range performance to that of scanning directed beams. For higher-velocity targets, the use of scanning directed beams yields larger detection range. © 2011 The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

News Article | March 31, 2016

On the battlefield, shoddy intelligence means innocent people die. To make its intelligence analysts more effective, the Canadian government is experimenting on them by treating these highly trained personnel like animals. No, really, intelligence analysts aren’t so different from wild animals, and that’s actually the point. Like hungry little foxes, they go scrounging around different nooks and crannies, except they’re hunting in various databases for satellite images, not a tasty critter to eat. This is called “information foraging,” a theory that originated at the storied Palo Alto Research Center, where much of modern computing was born, in the early 1990s. The Canadian military wants its intelligence analysts to get better at this kind of foraging because, according to Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) researchers, analysts face two major challenges: “information overload” and tight time constraints. This makes sense when you consider how Canada and other governments have accelerated and expanded their digital surveillance regimes over the years—that’s a lot of data. To this end, DRDC launched a project in 2014 involving a whole constellation of research on how to make intelligence analysts do their jobs better. Part of that project is INFOCAT, an experimental platform for testing the information foraging abilities of analysts, which can then be used to design better training and search systems. The work with INFOCAT is being led by cognitive psychologist David Bryant in Toronto, and the team just launched its first experiment, he told me when I interviewed him over the phone. A DRDC spokesperson was also on the line. “Animals ask themselves: While I’m foraging in this bush, how long should I stay there?” said Bryant. “Should I stay there and completely exhaust the food? That’s not a very good strategy.” It’s a simple question of economics—how long do you dick around in one bush, er, database looking for the last few berries before you move to another, more fruitful location, and how fast can you do it? To measure this in people, INFOCAT gives subjects just 20 minutes to answer a research question with lots of databases at their disposal. “In information foraging, you might Google something and as you go along, you’ll find items that aren’t particularly useful or helpful,” Bryant explained. In other words, how long do you plod through pages of increasingly unhelpful search results before you try a different combination of words? “It’s a question of diminishing returns,” Bryant said. This work will have applications outside of a military context, Bryant said. After all, in 2016, information overload isn’t just a problem for military types. As a steady stream of individual tweets, news stories, memes, and occasionally relevant information inundates us all, sussing out what’s important and what’s not can be tough. A system that helps you navigate it efficiently would be helpful for academics or businesspeople, or, hell, the average Twitter user. Canadian intelligence analysts prepare briefings on anything from strategic questions, like whether ISIS is likely to attack a certain region, to tactical ones, like which frequencies a particular radar emits, Bryant said. Analysts must look through a ton of different information sources—signals intelligence such as metadata, human intelligence reports (classic, “boots on the ground”-style spook stuff), satellite imagery, and books or Wikipedia. The job is to pull out relevant information, without spending too much time in any one source. You know, like an animal hungrily scurrying from place to place looking for a bite to eat. “In the experiment, we vary how the information is distributed in databases, we vary the cost associated with moving from one database to another, and the cost of opening an item and processing it,” said Bryant. “By varying these factors, we can create situations where we’d expect different behaviours from an optimal forager. We can see if their behaviours are in line with what information foraging theory predicts.” The nerdier among us may be asking ourselves: instead of going through all this trouble, why not just automate the whole process? According to Bryant, there’s no AI right now that can reliably do the cognitively complex job of an intelligence analyst, although that may one day be the case. For now, we have many people who do this job, and so Bryant and the DRDC are focused on making them better, instead of replacing them. That doesn’t mean that machines don’t have a part to play in that mission, however—a 2014 DRDC research paper saw the military looking into creating an AI-based virtual assistant to assist intelligence analysts. In the information-drenched future of war, human analysts—animals that they are—are going to need a little help.

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