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Accelerating Operational Efficiency

More data than we know what to do with

The internet of things — including smart systems and cyber-enabled infrastructure — is generating large-scale, real-time datasets that provide new information on a broad range of problems and a deeper understanding of how the world operates. But as the sheer amount of data grows, the ability of humans to review and parse it diminishes. If big data is going to help decision-makers better use resources, predict potential outcomes and anticipate challenges, the development of user-friendly algorithms and tools that can extract insights and summarize trends is critical.

Visit CAOE

GSI’s efforts in data visualization and analytics include the  Center for Accelerating Operational Efficiency (CAOE), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by ASU that draws upon the expertise of faculty in data analytics, operations research and systems analysis, homeland security risk sciences, and economic analysis. The research at CAOE helps the Department of Homeland Security improve efficiency and security at our national borders, ports and airports through better prediction and response to emergencies.

ASU Partners with below universities through the CAOE:

  • University at Albany - State University of New York
  • University at Buffalo - State University of New York
  • The University of British Columbia
  • University of California at Irvine, MSI
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York
  • Michigan State University
  • Monmouth College, Illinois
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas, MSI
  • North Carolina A&T State University, MSI
  • Northwestern University, Illinois
  • University of Nebraska-Omaha
  • The Pennsylvania State University
  • Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey 
  • San Diego State University, MSI
  • University of Southern California
  • Texas A&M University
  • The University of Texas at El Paso, Texas, MSI
  • Victoria University, Melbourne Australia
  • College of William and Mary


  • Data analytics
  • Operations research and systems analysis
  • Economic analysis
  • Homeland security risk sciences

Featured projects

Improving the effectiveness of procurement processes

The Procurement Innovation Lab (PIL) is a DHS initiative designed for experimenting with innovative techniques for increasing efficiency and implementing best practices in the procurement process. The PIL provides the DHS acquisition community with an innovative platform to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of procurement and lower entry barriers to encourage new, non-traditional contractors to compete. This CAOE project is developing an objectively derived procurement performance metric structure that can be used to measure how well PIL is advancing the acquisition process at DHS. The goal is to make recommendations on what improvements can be achieved to allow the PIL to better integrate innovations into its procurement systems.

Improving detection of threats at border operations

Securing the border between Ports-of-Entry (POEs) uses a variety of both physical and virtual infrastructure to detect, deter and disrupt pathways. The U.S. government has investments in both types of infrastructure to improve their capacity to prevent illegal smuggling and trafficking. The Simulation, analytics and modeling for border apprehension and security (SAMBAS) project identifies potential “hot paths” of activity, allowing for better resource allocation and offers information on return-on-investment (ROI) of tactical and surveillance infrastructure. The project will supply a scalable, flexible and feasible modeling and simulation approach for U.S. Customs and Border Projection (CBP) to measure the impact of their operations on potential smuggling routes.

Dynamic workforce management at network screening facilities

The combination of current airport space constraints, projected increases in air travelers, and rising number of security threats is putting more pressure on TSA staff and resources. The development of new workforce management tools are critical for TSA in continuing to improve operational efficiency under these challenging conditions. Researchers at CAOE are developing new analytical tools to assist TSA planners in responding to the current workplace demands. The goal of this project is to develop tools that allow TSA officials to fine-tune current processes including staffing and resource allocation with the goals of maximizing efficiency, increasing safety and improving passenger experience.