University of Arizona Eller College of Management professor Hsinchun Chen honored for law enforcement technology transfer
TUCSON , Ariz. – September 16, 2004 – Dr. Hsinchun Chen of the Management Information Systems Department at the UA Eller College of Management was honored September 15 with an inaugural University of Arizona Technology Innovation Award. The award recognizes UA faculty members who have transformed academic research into successful commercial ventures.
Chen was honored for developing and taking to market his COPLINK technology, which indexes and integrates data across multiple law enforcement jurisdictions—information from arrest records, vehicle registrations, eyewitness reports, pawnbroker transactions and more. The software makes aggregate data accessible through a single Web-based interface designed for ease of use.
“Universities cannot be isolated from society,” Chen said of the philosophy behind the award. “Over the past decade, there is clearly a shift of belief that both scientific merit and societal impact are important goals for university researchers, as stated in the National Science Foundation's proposal review criteria. Bringing research into business is probably one of the most direct ways to make such a societal impact.”
The data integration and search capability of Chen’s COPLINK technology enables big-picture law enforcement analysis with a speed and efficiency not previously available, surfacing relationships that might otherwise go undetected. The software gained national attention in 2002 in a demonstration showing how it would have identified Washington-area snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo much earlier by revealing that their blue car was stopped near all the shootings.
Research and development for COPLINK has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), among others. An DHS-funded expansion of COPLINK called "BorderSafe" aggregates records of the Tucson Police Department and Pima County Sheriff’s Department with Tucson Customs and Border Patrol.
COPLINK’S underlying technology originated in the Eller College Artificial Intelligence Lab, which Chen founded in 1990. Chen formed the company Knowledge Computing Corporation in 2000 to license the software. The company has developed a suite of criminal database tools used by the Tucson Police Department and law enforcement agencies in more than 100 communities across the United States.
The Arizona Center for Innovation joined with the UA Office of Technology Transfer and the UA Office of the Vice President for Research, Graduate Studies and Economic Development to create the Technology Innovation Award this year. A second award was presented to UA pathology professor Thomas Grogan, M.D. In 1985, Grogan founded Ventana Medical Systems Incorporated, which develops equipment used in cancer research.
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program #14 among public business schools and three of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship, MIS, and Management. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program #44 in the U.S. and #21 among public business schools. The College leads the nation’s business schools in generating grant funds for research. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers an Evening MBA program and the Eller Executive MBA. The Eller College of Management supports approximately 5,700 undergraduate and 700 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona.
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management
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