LOVELAND — Aubrey Poore knows his numbers.
Poore, a former Colorado State University professor of applied mathematics, is the founder, CEO and chief scientist of the Numerica Corp., a Loveland-based company that provides the mind-numbing algorithms needed to solve complex problems for military, space and surveillance applications.
Numerica sprang from work Poore was doing at CSU in 1988 in cooperation with IBM in Boulder, which involved developing a new approach to multiple target tracking. “We solved a key problem called a data association problem,” Poore said.
That led to a new tracking system for AWACS, the Airborne Warning And Control System, which provides airborne surveillance for the military and command and communications for the nation’s tactical and air defenses.
In 1996 — the year Numerica was founded — the company received the “Best of Breed Tracker Award” for its contribution to an upgrade of AWACS. That soon led to Numerica, once housed within CSU, going off on its own, Poore said.
“In 1998 the university asked me to take it out and commercialize it,” said Poore, who accumulated four patents on Numerica’s proprietary technology while at CSU, which shares in royalties.
Put simply, Poore said, Numerica’s technology focuses on developing complex algorithms that address moving objects in space.
“The key problem is what we call data association and fusion of information to arrive at information about flying objects,” he said. “It’s really about just knowing where things are.”
Poore said earning the Tracker Award started opening doors for the company. “The funding agencies took notice of that accomplishment,” he said. “Since ’96 we’ve been blessed with opportunities for many different projects.”
The company now lists Lockheed Martin IS&S, Northrup Grumman Space Technology, General Dynamics and Boeing among its distinguished list of clients.
“We do many things now, but it all has its core in statistics, electrical engineering, mathematics and computer science,” Poore said. “It’s kind of a blend of all of those.”
Poore said Numerica’s technology enables it to minimize the “noise level” in complex calculations. “We can solve these very hard problems within the noise level in the problem as accurately as we wish. We can do that in fractions of a second and as accurately as possible.”
That’s especially important when you’re working to constantly improve the nation’s missile defense system, as Numerica does.
Poore said he keeps his focus on the company’s technology and could not say how much money it’s earning through its many contracts, including being part of a $600 million contract with Northrup Grumman to help build the next generation of the nation’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System that will be put into place in 2014.
Poore said while he founded the 45-employee company and serves as its chief scientist, he can’t take all the credit for its success. That belongs, he said, to its highly educated workforce.
“What we’ve done over the years is try to hire the best people from around the nation from the best schools – Princeton, Harvard, Cambridge and MIT as well as CSU, the School of Mines and the University of Colorado. We recruit from all of them.
“These people are just truly exceptional. That’s what makes Numerica work.”