PAWS: Adaptive Game-theoretic Patrolling for Wildlife Protection (Demonstration)


Benjamin Ford, Debarun Kar, Francesco M. Delle Fave, Rong Yang, and Milind Tambe. 5/2014. “PAWS: Adaptive Game-theoretic Patrolling for Wildlife Protection (Demonstration).” In Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS).


Endangered species around the world are in danger of extinction from poaching. From the start of the 20th century, the African rhino population has dropped over 98% [4] and the global tiger population has dropped over 95% [5], resulting in multiple species extinctions in both groups. Species extinctions have negative consequences on local ecosystems, economies, and communities. To protect these species, countries have set up conservation agencies and national parks, such as Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP). However, a common lack of funding for these agencies results in a lack of law enforcement resources to protect these large, rural areas. As an example of the scale of disparity, one wildlife crime study in 2007 reported an actual coverage density of one ranger per 167 square kilometers [2]. Because of the hazards involved (e.g., armed poachers, wild animals), rangers patrol in groups, further increasing the amount of area they are responsible for patrolling. Security game research has typically been concerned with combating terrorism, and this field has indeed benefited from a range of successfully deployed applications [1, 6]. These applications have enabled security agencies to make more efficient use of their limited resources. In this previous research, adversary data has been absent during the development of these solutions, and thus, it has been difficult to make accurate adversary behavior models during algorithm development. In a domain such as wildlife crime, interactions with the adversary are frequent and repeated, thus enabling conservation agencies to collect data. This presence of data enables security game researchers to begin developing algorithms that incorporate this data into, potentially, more accurate behavior models and consequently better security solutions. Developed in conjunction with staff at QENP, the Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS) generates optimized defender strategies for use by park rangers [7]. Due to the repeated nature of wildlife crime, PAWS is able to leverage crime event data - a previously unrealized capability in security games research. Thus, PAWS implements a novel adaptive algorithm that processes crime event data, builds multiple human behavior models, and, based on those models, predicts where adversaries will attack next. These predictions are then used to generate a patrol strategy for the rangers (i.e., a set of patrol waypoints) that can be viewed on a GPS unit. Against this background, the demonstration presented in this paper introduces two contributions. First, we present the PAWS system which incorporates the algorithm in [7] into a scheduling system and a GPS visualizer. Second, we present a software interface to run a number of human subject experiments (HSE) to evaluate and improve the efficacy of PAWS before its deployment in QENP. By conducting these HSEs, we can (i) test the PAWS algorithms with repeated interactions with humans, thus providing a more realistic testing environment than in its previous simulations; (ii) generate data that can be used to initialize PAWS’s human behavior models for deployment, and (iii) compare the current PAWS algorithms’ performance to alternatives and determine if additional improvements are needed prior to deployment. To provide proper context for the presentation, this paper also presents a brief overview of the PAWS system data flow and its adaptive algorithms. The demonstration will engage audience members by having them participate in the HSEs and using the GPS unit to visualize a patrol schedule in QENP.
See also: Conservation, PAWS, 2014
Last updated on 07/26/2021