New Aust computing project could foil terror plots

Bridges and rail platforms may be monitored for terrorist bombs and residents of aged care facility for falls under research projects based on a new computing system being deployed by Monash University in Melbourne.

Bridges and rail platforms may be monitored for terrorist bombs and residents of aged care facility for falls under research projects based on a new computing system being deployed by Monash University in Melbourne.

Dr Asad Khan, research director, School of Network Computing, Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University, said the projects involve use of a network of sensors, incorporating peer-to-peer software and linked by a wireless network, registering and alerting authorities to atypical patterns of behaviour within a defined area.

Dr Khan said the sensors could, for example, detect access by unauthorised individuals to remote parts of large infrastructure such as bridges or train platforms or the falling and subsequent failure to get up quickly of a resident of a nursing home or retirement village.

Simulation for the projects would be undertaken on a newly-acquired computing system. The University is upgrading a Sun Fire v20z Compute Grid Rack system based on 10 dual-processor Sun Fire v20z AMD Opteron Servers to a full 64 central processing unit configuration.

The University received the base Sun equipment as part of a grant program jointly sponsored by Sun and education solution partner Alphawest.

The project will allow the University to simulate very large-scale networks. Dr Khan said the system -- which could simulate up to one million nodes (each of which includes a sensor and the second a small device that communicates over a wireless network) -- was expected to be delivered by mid-January and be up and running by the end of the month.

Dr Khan said while he had applied for Australian Research Council grants to help fund his projects, there was no concrete interest from the corporate or government sector as yet. The school is working with a Melbourne software company that would provide a database to buttress the system.

Provided some funding comes through, Dr Khan said, a real world-trial of the sensor system would be expected within the next three to five years.

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