Game Theory for Security: Lessons Learned from Deployed Applications

  • Milind Tambe
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7047)


Security at major locations of economic or political importance or transportation or other infrastructure is a key concern around the world, particularly given the threat of terrorism. Limited security resources prevent full security coverage at all times; instead, these limited resources must be deployed intelligently taking into account differences in priorities of targets requiring security coverage, the responses of the adversaries to the security posture and potential uncertainty over the types of adversaries faced. Game theory is well-suited to adversarial reasoning for security resource allocation and scheduling problems. Casting the problem as a Bayesian Stackelberg game, we have developed new algorithms for efficiently solving such games to provide randomized patrolling or inspection strategies: we can thus avoid predictability and address scale-up in these security scheduling problems, addressing key weaknesses of human scheduling. Our algorithms are now deployed in multiple applications. ARMOR, our first game theoretic application, has been deployed at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) since 2007 to randomize checkpoints on the roadways entering the airport and canine patrol routes within the airport terminals. IRIS, our second application, is a game-theoretic scheduler for randomized deployment of the Federal Air Marshals (FAMS) requiring significant scale-up in underlying algorithms; IRIS has been in use since 2009. Similarly, a new set of algorithms are deployed in Boston for a system called PROTECT for randomizing US coast guard patrolling; PROTECT is intended to be deployed at more locations in the future, and GUARDS is under evaluation for national deployment by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). These applications are leading to real-world use-inspired research in scaling up to large-scale problems, handling significant adversarial uncertainty, dealing with bounded rationality of human adversaries, and other fundamental challenges. This talk will outline our algorithms, key research results and lessons learned from these applications.


Schedule Problem Game Theory International Airport Inspection Strategy Security Posture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milind Tambe
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Industrial & Systems EngineeringUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations