Global seismic monitoring as probabilistic inference

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 23 (NIPS 2010)

Bibtex Metadata Paper


Nimar Arora, Stuart J. Russell, Paul Kidwell, Erik Sudderth


The International Monitoring System (IMS) is a global network of sensors whose purpose is to identify potential violations of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), primarily through detection and localization of seismic events. We report on the first stage of a project to improve on the current automated software system with a Bayesian inference system that computes the most likely global event history given the record of local sensor data. The new system, VISA (Vertically Integrated Seismological Analysis), is based on empirically calibrated, generative models of event occurrence, signal propagation, and signal detection. VISA exhibits significantly improved precision and recall compared to the current operational system and is able to detect events that are missed even by the human analysts who post-process the IMS output.