USC Price School of Public Policy


Startup formed to commercialize patented USC technology

March 14, 2013

By Ian Murphy

Erroll Southers, associate director of the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (Photo/Erin Calicchio)

Armorway Inc. has been issued an exclusive license to commercialize software that provides intelligently randomized security patrols for resource optimization of security agencies to make airports, municipalities, borders and waterways more secure around the world.

“Protecting ports, airports and critical national infrastructure and interrupting the illegal flow of weapons and contraband is a 24-hour-a-day mission, yet limited security resources prevent full security coverage at all times, allowing adversaries to observe and exploit patterns in selective patrolling or monitoring,” said Erroll Southers, co-founder of Armorway and associate director of the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE). “This technology results in greater cost-benefit opportunities for security resources by maximizing deployment and scheduling efficiencies.”

ARMOR software was developed at USC CREATE, a National Center of Excellence funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and housed at the USC Price School of Public Policy and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Armorway will be the first commercially available security system to incorporate game theory based on the patented technology of Milind Tambe, a USC computer scientist and CREATE researcher.

Tambe’s research is rooted in mathematical game theory, which predicts how conflict might play out between adversaries. According to the Bayesian Stackelberg game theory, the attackers observe the defenders to identify and exploit any possible security patterns. ARMOR’s rigorous game-theoretic modeling and algorithms prevent that from happening.

ARMOR’s randomization optimizes the use of the limited security patrols by making it extremely difficult for would-be attackers to determine when a particular target will be protected, according to Tambe, who serves on the board of directors for Armorway.

“Intelligent randomization — a core feature — means that the program’s recommended patrol schedules ensure that high-value locations are visited most often,” Tambe said.

Armorway is a USC spinoff that formed as a result of two programs at the USC Stevens Center for Innovation: The Entrepreneurs in Residence Program that brings successful entrepreneurs to campus to catalyze the formation of high-growth startup companies based upon university technologies and the Ideas Empowered Program that bridges the gap between basic research and the marketplace by supporting both the idea and the innovator through mentoring and coaching, connections to resources, and proof-of-concept funding for validation of technical feasibility through proof-of-concept experiments and prototype development.