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Conceptual structures

Simon Andrews has been investigating the problem of computing formal concepts. Formal concept analysis (FCA) is a principled way of deriving a concept hierarchy or formal ontology from a collection of objects and their properties.

Each concept in the hierarchy represents the objects sharing some set of properties; and each sub-concept in the hierarchy represents a subset of the objects (as well as a superset of the properties) in the concepts above it. As the number of objects and properties in the collection increase, the corresponding number of concepts increases exponentially and thus the problem of computing the concepts efficiently becomes challenging.

Simon has investigated a variety of novel pruning techniques to increase computational efficiency, creating a series of world-leading (fastest) algorithms for computing formal concepts - the In-Close algorithms. His algorithms have been adapted and applied widely and have played a significant role in a number of major European research projects. An implementation of the latest algorithm can be accessed via Source Forge.

ePOOLICE

Simon Andrews was also the Principal Investigator at Sheffield Hallam University for the European ePOOLICE research project. Simon lead a team of researchers in the Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Organised Crime Research (CENTRIC), investigating methods of scanning the Internet to detect organised crime.

As part of the project, and working closely with law enforcement agencies, Simon Polovina explored the problem of modelling organised crime, such as the trafficking of human beings, using conceptual structures such as Conceptual Graphs and taxonomies. Such models would enable material scanned from the internet to be automatically classified according to the identified elements and activities of organised crime.

Once classified, structured data could be mined from the scanned information allowing formal concept analysis to be applied, via Simon Andrews’ algorithms, creating clusters of related information that could be visualised and presented to law enforcement analysts to aid their investigations into organised crime.

European ATHENA research project

Simon Andrews was also the Principal Investigator in CENTRIC for the European ATHENA research project, investigating ways of assisting emergency services in managing crisis situations via the utilisation of smart devices and the Internet. Methods of assimilating and processing crisis information from Internet sources and mobile applications were developed and implemented as a communications system for command and control, first responders and the public, to facilitate their efforts in mitigating the impact of a crisis and in keeping citizens safe.

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