Models of Smuggler Movement

The following poster describes four different smuggler movement models: shortest distance, maximum reliability, random walk, and guided random walk.  The poster depicts some paths resulting form the models' application to the Los Alamos world transportation network, which includes roads, railroads, seaports, and airports around the world.

The maximum reliability path model correctly identifies several known smuggler routes.  First, it identifies to "Balkan route," a common smuggling route from Afghanistan to Europe.  Second, it identifies the route taken by the Mumbai shooters in 2008.

The guided random walk model is similar to the maximum reliability model, but takes into consideration the fact that random events can bump a smuggler off his chosen path.  When this model is applied to the Mumbai shooters route, it shows that the Karachi-Mumbai sea route is highly susceptible to smugglers.

DNDO ARI 2009 Poster on Models of Smuggler Movement


Each model leads to a corresponding interdiction plan.  Given a small budget to purchase a few nuclear detectors, we would like to identify the border crossings on which to place these nuclear detectors so as to limit the smuggler's ability to move through the transportation network.  The following visualization depicts the placement of nuclear detectors under the maximum reliability path model, and is derived from mathematical programming formulations and solutions of Mike Nehme and Dave Morton.

In the visualization, the red dots represent smuggler origins.  The black dots represent smuggler destinations.  Each (origin,destination) pair is an equally likely smuggling scenario.  The blue dots represent detector placements.  The visualization depicts detector placements as we increase the budget from 1 detector.  The optimal detector placement is not sequential.  For example, the optimal placement for 11 detectors does use the optimal placement for 10 detectors and one additional border crossing.  Since, in reality, the budget available for detectors may not be known in advance, it would be preferable to have an optimal detector placement sequence.  Models for such optimal placement sequences have been developed by Ali Koc and Dave Morton.

See also the related papers on Nuclear Smuggler Detection.


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