JASON: compressed sensing may be attractive option for small remote DoD systems

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Compressed sensing, the use of sensors for imaging (or other sensing) of an object in a manner that uses a limited subset of the available data in order to improve efficiency or conserve resources, holds potential benefits for Defense Department systems, according to a new 124-page report (.pdf) from the JASON scientific advisory group. Secrecy News obtained the November report, posintg it online Dec. 19. 

Compressed sensing is the "intentionally under-sampling an object or image, typically in a random manner" later reconsturcted "to recover the complete object or image information," the report says.

According to the findings of the JASON report, DoD should play a major role in exploring where and how compressed sensing can be applied, particularly to radar and optical systems. The report went on to say that compressed sensing "may be an attractive option for small remote systems with limited power and bandwidth" such as satellites, aerial drones, and unmanned underwater vehicles.

Compressed sensing could lead to reductions in data link requirements and reductions in radar resources needed for radar image formation. The latter would provide radars more resources for its other functions "such as target detection, target tracking, and fire control." Compressed sensing could also increase angular resolution without commensurate increases in array costs, and increased fields of view without degradation in resolution, the report says.

Still, the JASON report is also quick to caution that compressive sensing is not a "free lunch" and that it "always involves a tradeoff; reduced data may save measurement resources, but it also means a lower signal-to-noise ratio and possibly other artifacts, such as side lobes or false alarms."

Established in 1960, JASON is an independent scientific advisory group that provides consulting services to the U.S. government on matters of defense science and technology. Typically, the group performs most of its work during an annual study.

For more:
-read the JASON report (.pdf)
-read the Secrecy News blog

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