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Prabhu Natarajan(centre) with his supervisores Prof Mohan Kankanhalli(Left) and Asst Prof Bryan Low(Right)

NUS SoC PhD student Prabhu Natarajan received the Best PhD Forum Paper Award at the sixth Annual International Conference on Distributed Smart Cameras, held in Hong Kong from 30 October 2012 to 2 November 2012. The award is for his PhD thesis titled “Decision-Theoretic Coordination and Control for Active Multi-Camera Surveillance in Uncertain, Partially Observable Environments”, which he shares with his supervisors, Professor Mohan Kankanhalli and Assistant Professor Bryan Low.

PhD forum candidates defend their PhD challenges in front of an ad-hoc selected jury of distinguished conference visitors of various backgrounds, unrelated to the PhD candidates. The candidates will present their idea and approach and will be intensively interrogated by the jury, reflecting the flavours of a genuine PhD defense.

His paper presents novel decision-theoretic multi-agent approaches for controlling and coordinating multiple active cameras in surveillance. These approaches model the interactions between active camera networks and the uncertain surveillance environment effectively. While existing approaches have scalability limitations, Prabu’s thesis proposes two novel decision-theoretic frameworks: Markov Decision Process (MDP) and Partially Observable Markov Decision Process (POMDP) frameworks for coordinating active cameras in fully observable and partially observable surveillance settings.