My PhD is entitled “The Border Patrol Game” and is focused on developing strategies to defend the borders in our model world using methods from both Statistics and Operational Research. My supervisors at Lancaster University are David Leslie, Kevin Glazebrook and Rob Shone, and Roberto Szechtman from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California. A technical description of my project can be found below
There are many reasons we need to defend borders in the modern world. Not only are there the physical borders between countries where we wish to stop illegal trafficking and smuggling, there are the metaphorical borders in cybersecurity and intelligence collection. Whilst in an ideal world we would be able to simultaneously protect the whole border all of the time, due to constraints on budget or other factors it is common to patrol the border focusing on only a small section at a time.
We are using game theory and reinforcement learning techniques to develop strategies with which the defender can use to protect their border. We do this by considering the optimal actions both the smuggler and defender could take, and how they could then play against this.
The project will entail many different aspects of the applied probability and operational research literatures such as: multi-armed bandits, Stackelberg security games and Markov decision processes. We hope to bring these together to solve various problems in this project.