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NSWC Panama City distinguished scientist awarded for NDIA technical achievement

By Katherine Mapp | NSWC PCD Public Affairs | Sept. 23, 2019

GROTON, Conn. —

Dr. James “Tory” Cobb, distinguished scientist for advanced signal processing and automation in mine warfare at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) received the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Award for Technical Achievement in Undersea Warfare Sept. 17 in Groton, Conn.

The NDIA Undersea Warfare Division Bronze Award recognizes outstanding individual achievements in either science or engineering in the field of Undersea Warfare. This recognition is awarded to key individuals in the principal Navy and university laboratories engaged in undersea warfare related activities.

Cobb was surprised to learn of his selection to receive the award highlighting NSWC PCD's technical successes in undersea warfare. 

“Our team at NSWC PCD has worked hard to transition machine learning capabilities to mine countermeasures UUV programs and I'm honored to accept this award for these accomplishments,” said Cobb. “This award means a lot to me because of the others at NSWC PCD who received it such as Dr. Gerry Dobeck, Dr. Kerry Commander, and Dr. Dan Sternlicht, among others,” said Cobb. “To be included with such accomplished research scientists is a real honor for me.

Cobb has devoted his 18-year career to improving the U.S. Navy’s undersea warfare capabilities. As an internationally recognized expert in applying machine-learning principles to mine warfare, he has successfully transitioned side-scan and synthetic aperture sonar automatic target recognition (ATR) to unmanned underwater vehicle programs.

“Cobb’s ATR algorithms improve system performance substantially over prior approaches and they are paving the way for enhanced autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle capabilities,” said Capt. Aaron Peters, NSWC PCD commanding officer.

Cobb attributes the successes to many years of hard work and accomplishments of his and others.

“The accomplishments justifying the award were made possible by years of hard work by numerous scientists and engineers funded by the Office of Naval Research,” said Cobb. “I was happy to be a part of the team and later lead it as elements of the machine learning technology matured and ultimately transitioned to the warfighter.”