Security Applications: Lessons of Real-World Deployment


J. Pita, M. Jain, C. Kiekintveld, H. Bellamane, J. Tsai, M. Tambe, and F. Ordonez. 2009. “Security Applications: Lessons of Real-World Deployment .” ACM SIGecom Exchanges, 8, 2.


Game theory has played an important role in security decisions. Recent work using Stackelberg games [Fudenberg and Tirole 1991] to model security domains has been particularly influential [Basilico et al. 2009; Kiekintveld et al. 2009; Paruchuri et al. 2008; Pita et al. 2008; Pita et al. 2009]. In a Stackelberg game, a leader (in this case the defender) acts first and commits to a randomized security policy. The follower (attacker) optimizes its reward considering the strategy chosen by the leader. These games are well-suited to representing the problem security forces face in allocating limited resources, such as officers, canine units, and checkpoints. In particular, the fact that the attacker is able to observe the policy reflects the way real terrorist organizations plan attacks using extensive surveillance and long planning cycles. Stackelberg game models are not just theoretical models; they are at the heart of deployed decision-support software now in use the the Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA) police and the United States Federal Air Marshals Service (FAMS). A new application is under development for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), also using game-theoretic analysis. Moving from theoretical analysis to applying game theory in real applications posed many new challenged, and there remain many open questions to be solved in this exciting area of work. In this article we will highlight several of the main issues that have come up, including (i) developing efficient algorithms to solve large-scale Stackelberg Security Games, (ii) evaluating deployed security systems, (iii) knowledge acquisition from security experts to specify the game models, and (iv) handling mixed-initiative interactions. We begin with an overview of the deployed systems and then discuss these issues in turn.
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