When is Information Sufficient for Action? Search with Unreliable Yet Informative Intelligence

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Authors
Atkinson, Michael P.
Lange, Rutger-Jan
Subjects
whereabouts search
optimal stopping
multinomial selection
Advisors
Date of Issue
2016
Date
March-April 2016
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Language
Abstract
We analyze a variant of the whereabouts search problem, in which a searcher looks for a target hiding in one of n possible locations. Unlike in the classic version, our searcher does not pursue the target by actively moving from one location to the next. Instead, the searcher receives a stream of intelligence about the location of the target. At any time, the searcher can engage the location he thinks contains the target or wait for more intelligence. The searcher incurs costs when he engages the wrong location, based on insufficient intelligence, or waits too long in the hopes of gaining better situational awareness, which allows the target to either execute his plot or disappear. We formulate the searcher’s decision as an optimal stopping problem and establish conditions for optimally executing this search-and-interdict mission.
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Article
Description
The article of record may be found at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/opre.2016.1488
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Department
Operations Research (OR)
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This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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