Dr Mark Anderson was the principal inventor of Shapes Vector, a prototype system developed in 1996 to detect intrusions into computer networks. Shapes Vector combines artificial intelligence agents and three-dimensional visualisation techniques to patrol and report on wide area network anomalies such as those in Defence.
Both the inference engine and visualisation engine of Shapes Vector help computer network Defence teams find vulnerable and mis-configured systems needing immediate attention. An operator can be placed inside a real-time depiction of a computer network and interact with the Shapes Vector system to investigate anomalies and take action to maintain network security.
The system represented a breakthrough research in real-time visualisation of network attacks. In 2003, under an agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a Shapes Vector system was installed at a site in the Washington DC area for experimentation and evaluation. By 2005, the operational assessment of Shapes Vector both in the US and Australia was completed and was shown to operate well beyond Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) network security systems in its monitoring and surveillance of very large networks. Shapes Vector is now being rolled out within Defence and is licensed to the USA for government use.