Artificial Intelligence

Cutting-edge AI wanted: A new contract seeks security advantages

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency launched its Artificial Intelligence Exploration program in 2018 and announced Aug. 1 that it has several award opportunities available on FedBizOpps to enable exploratory research in AI.

Through the AIE program, DARPA aims to fast-track investment, solicitation and development in pioneering AI research to “advance the state of the art” and “ensure the U.S. maintains a technological advantage in this critical and rapidly accelerating technology area,” according to the posting.

AIE will constitute a series of funding opportunities worth up to $1 million each. The online opportunity also includes proposal templates for companies to use in competing for awards under the program.

The program’s simplified and streamlined proposal, contracting and funding process will “enable DARPA to go from idea inception to exploration in fewer than 90 days.”

“Researchers will then work to establish the feasibility of new AI concepts within 18 months of award,” according to a July 2018 DARPA press release outlining the goals of the program.

AIE opportunities will focus on topics aligned with DARPA’s goals in pursuing “third wave” AI research concepts. Third wave addresses the limitations of “first wave” (rule-based) and “second wave” (statistical learning-based) AI technologies by “making it possible for computers to contextually adapt to changing situations.”

According to DARPA, AIE project topics may include proofs of concept; pilots; novel applications of commercial technologies for defense purposes; creation, design, development and demonstration of technical or operational utility; or a combination of topics.

AIE is one element of DARPA’s mission to shape “a future in which AI-enabled machines serve as trusted, collaborative partners in solving problems of importance to national security.”

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