DoD Scientist of the Quarter

Mr. Daniel Uppenkamp, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Mr. Daniel Uppenkamp was recently selected as the Department of Defense (DOD) Laboratory Scientist of the Quarter for the Fourth Quarter of Fiscal Year 2014. His work on large data processing challenges using wide area motion imagery (WAMI) holds the potential to help design and develop the algorithms that will enhance the ability of the DoD and the Air Force to handle the growing numbers of large data sets.

USD(AT&L) Frank Kendall presents the Scientist of the Quarter Award to AFRL's Daniel Uppenkamp

USD(AT&L) Frank Kendall presents the Scientist of the Quarter Award to AFRL's Daniel Uppenkamp

Mr. Uppenkamp began his career working as a member of the AngelFire team, collecting WAMI and disseminating the information to users on the ground in real time. He then moved to the Blue Devil program at AFRL, the most successful demonstration of an operational surveillance platform developed in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Blue Devil is credited with the capture or elimination of more than 1,200 enemy combatants; profoundly affecting the conduct of counter-insurgency operations in the theatre today. Mr. Uppenkamp is also the creator and lead designer of Pursuer - an open-source, layered sensing platform. Pursuer provides a 3D environment that allows the user to visualize sensor data in a single, common interface and to interact with the data both geospatially and temporally.

Large Data Processing Research

Mr. Uppenkamp’s work has fundamentally changed the paradigm for storing and processing sensor data, addressing the need to provide users with the tools to efficiently and effectively utilize vast quantities of sensor data.  For example, WAMI possesses the ability to provide cues when there is a significant shift from normal patterns of movement.  Mr. Uppenkamp continues to pursue research with WAMI and the generation of mover heat maps, with a particular focus on expanding the temporal duration of its data sets.

As part of an AFRL-Google Cooperative Research & Development Agreement, Mr. Uppenkamp’s work helped him to understand their scalable computing architecture, a key component of his approach to big data processing.  Specifically, this has led to :

  • Identification of a revolutionary approach to solving big data processing challenges and implementing successful prototype WAMI exploitation tools for simple pattern-of-life analysis;
  • Creation of an in-house capability to demonstrate a responsible approach to large scale video synthetic aperture radar generation using primarily existing hardware ($243K savings) and open source software, increasing data processing 40X with a size, weight, and power savings of 60%;
  • Development of groundbreaking cloud computing capability to swiftly analyze and mine RY’s vast intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data warehouse by making data analysis faster and data storage more efficient.

Mr. Uppenkamp’s research holds the potential to significantly enhance big data processing in the Air Force.  Mr. Uppenkamp has authored and co-authored multiple publications related to his research on designing, developing, and deploying sensor systems, including: