Control Theory, in layman’s terms, is the mathematical framework for understanding a problem or a system and determining how you can change results by changing your approach. It’s a theory that Tim Taylor fell in love with as a grad student at the Colorado School of Mines, and one that he’s pursued his professional career. It’s also what led him to Numerica, a company that excels at optimizing results by refining its approach to air defense and missile defense solutions.
“Numerica has an interesting and mature mix of a start-up culture and well-established company culture,” says Tim, an AMD Research Scientist. “It balances new ideas with existing technologies. What drew me to Numerica was the fact that they were working on state-of-the-art technology, and I would get to be a part of that and help develop the next generation of tracking software.”
At Numerica, Variety is the Spice of Life
Sure, the technology at Numerica is cutting-edge stuff—it has to be when you have a reputation for deploying best-in-class technology to solve some of the country’s greatest defense challenges in air and missile defense—but what keeps things lively and interesting for Taylor are the problems he’s charged with solving. It’s a perk he doesn’t think you’d find at other defense companies.
“The problems we are solving are much more interesting, like tracking and sensor fusion,” says Tim. “At other companies, you’d don’t get to dive into problems at the level of detail and complexity that we operate in at Numerica. For example, if I worked for a GPS manufacturer, I would be solving the same problem over and over. Here I encounter new and different problems multiple times each day.”
As part of an experienced and knowledgeable brain trust, Tim and company have the ability to deep-dive problems to create game-changing solutions, like Spyglass™ a purpose-built multi-mission Ku-band radar with an exceptional performance to SWaP-C ratio to addresses Short-Range Air Defense (SHORAD) inclusive of Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-sUAS), ground surveillance and other short range defense missions.
It’s what they do.
“My favorite part of the job is when someone asks me a question and I don’t know the answer,” says Tim. “I feel like a lot of the joy of working for Numerica is researching and finding an answer and finding the best solution. Being able to use my experience and being able to leverage my creativity and resourcefulness to find a solution is exciting for me.”
These regular ad hoc brainstorm sessions at Numerica plant seeds for bigtime results in advancing the defense of the United States and its allies. Like, a variety of missile defense solutions including MFATS and MIMIR, which are sensor fusion and network integration software (respectively), and are part of the Spyglass radar system.
Solving the Biggest Challenges in Defense with the Smartest People in the World
Tim doesn’t leave any room for confusion: He thinks Numerica has some of the smartest people in the world working on national defense solutions.
“My coworkers are some of the smartest people on the planet,” he says. “I always feel like it is very exciting to be able to have some deep conversations about these concepts [on radar, tracking, and fusion]. This is not something I get outside of work, and I am not sure I would get the opportunity for that at another company.”
That’s a good thing because the work is no small feat. Tim and the Numerica team approach defense challenges by reverse engineering what, say, the government needs. This requires them to consider a variety of wants and needs, as well as potential advanced solutions to land on the most effective result—and those solutions can span Numerica’s wide range of capabilities in algorithmic solutions and beyond.
“Numerica has been working and developing U.S. AMD software for the last 15 years,” says Tim. “What I currently work on is developing the next generation of that. We are using smaller government grants as we incrementally develop this new software that is going to revolutionize the way we think about tracking. I am just a small part of that.”