The  goal of  VASA  (Visual  Analytics  for  Security  Applications)  is  to  apply  visual analytics  to  disaster prevention  and  crisis  response,  with  a  focus  on  critical  infrastructures  in  logistics,  transportation, food  safety,  digital  networks  and  power  grids  at  the  national  levels.  The  connectedness  and dependency  of  these  critical  infrastructures  make  the  problem  of  monitoring  and  understanding their functioning and dependencies one of the most complex analytical tasks faced by our societies. Their proper functioning is crucial for the well-being of the population, economic viability, and most of all to prevent loss of life.

Visual  analytics is  the  science  of  analytical  reasoning  facilitated  by  interactive  visual  interfaces.  It provides technology that combines the strengths of human and electronic data processing enabling a semi-automated  analytical  process,  where  humans  and  machines  cooperate using  their  respective distinct capabilities. The VASA project proposes the application of visual analytics to the problems of monitoring  and  understanding  critical  infrastructures,  cascading  infrastructure  effects,  and  to  the management of crisis response. While, for example, there exist detailed models for individual types of infrastructures such as electric power grids, these do not encompass the various interconnections and  interdependencies  one  needs  to  be  aware  of  to  make  risk  estimation  decisions  and  for performing operational risk management. What is therefore required is a mechanism for conjoining the  information  available  for  individual  infrastructure  sectors  and  providing  unified  views  and analytical tools for planning and decision support.

VASA is conceived as a three-year German-US collaboration project from science through prototypes and  demonstrations  to  evaluations  for  transitions  into  practice  which  leverage  other  investments from both countries.

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