Dr Neil Gordon has been awarded the 2019 Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science for his research that led to one of most important surveillance algorithms of the past 50 years.
Dr Gordon’s research focused on data fusion, the process of integrating multiple data sources to produce more consistent, accurate and useful information, more reliable than any individual data source can provide.
Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Tanya Monro, congratulated Dr Gordon, saying his work in the field of international data fusion could not be overstated.
“Dr Gordon can rightfully be called the 'inventor of the particle filter', which is now used almost everywhere, from predicting weather, to epidemiology, to the extraction of missile threats from satellite data,” Professor Monro said.
The particle filter is a method for dealing with non-linear and non-Gaussian (variables assumed not to have a normal distribution) estimation problems.
The method uses random samples to approximate probability distributions and is able to update these probabilities using dynamic models and measurement data.
Dr Gordon’s crucial contribution was a method called importance sampling, which solves provable shortcomings of the previous methods.
Dr Gordon also led the Defence team that contributed to the definition of the search region for the missing aircraft MH370.
The Minister's Award for Achievement in Defence Science is awarded annually to recognise original and outstanding contributions capable of enhancing Australia's defence effectiveness and efficiency.
“Dr Gordon is a highly deserving recipient of the award,” Professor Monro said.
The award was presented to Dr Gordon by Andrew Wallace on behalf of the Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds.