Tony Liu

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Mathematics and Statistics

First Advisor

Kevin Pond, PhD.


Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) continue to be a main weapon used by terrorists against coalition forces overseas. This thesis intends to provide methods that can give coalition forces a new perspective on fighting IEDs. We begin by first developing a model of the supply chain terrorists use to develop, emplace and detonate IEDs. Our model contains four states in which IEDs can exist in: construction (C), emplaced (E), detonated (D) and found by coalition forces (F). We also have rate parameters representing the flow rates of IEDs. Over a given period of time, coalition forces can collect data on the number of IEDs that they find as well as the number of IEDs that detonate. From here, we apply a least squares method to obtain the parameter set for our supply chain model that best fits the collected IED data. Minimizing our least squares equation allows us to estimate where the IEDs are located as well as how fast they are being moved throughout the entire supply chain. Using this, we can judge the impact of our past efforts in stopping IEDs and determine how to best move forward.

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