Spot a leader? Ask Maroulas

Farragut resident and University of Tennessee scientist Dr. Vasileios Maroulas and his 10-person team from UT’s Department of Mathematics are finding creative ways to identify potential leaders in the armed forces and beyond.

Along with his work at UT, Maroulas also is a senior research fellow at the U.S. Army Research Lab in Aberdeen, Maryland.

“I’m working with the U.S. Army Research Lab, and my work is funded by the U.S. Army Research Office,” he said. “We’re trying to identify and classify brain waves,” which, he said, are collected by subjects wearing an EEG helmet.

“That (helmet) records how they think and what kind of decision making they’re doing on the fly,” Maroulas added. “We try to identify the accurate decision makers under very stressful environments.

“So, you can imagine these kind of things have an immediate impact for the Army, in battlefields and things like that.”

Maroulas said the challenge is “because we collect all this complex data and we try to analyze this complex data, we cannot just do it with formula data analysis methods, or ‘black box’ methods.”

Instead, his team has to reinvent new approaches “so that we deliver back to the Army and identify the decision makers.”

Along with brain waves, the team also uses psychological data from measuring the heart rate and “eye-tracking videos.”

Maroulas said the data also can be used, for example, in chemistry, material science and even sports.