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Project Maven Industry Day Pursues Artificial Intelligence for DoD Challenges

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2017 — Project Maven continues its drive to partner with industry, academia and national laboratories to develop and deploy artificial intelligence-based algorithms against some of DoD’s toughest challenges.

A materials researcher examines experimental data on the ARES artificial intelligence planner. The ARES Autonomous Research System, developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, uses artificial intelligence to design, execute and analyze experiments at a faster pace than traditional scientific research methods. (Courtesy Photo)
A materials researcher examines experimental data on the ARES artificial intelligence planner. The ARES Autonomous Research System, developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, uses artificial intelligence to design, execute and analyze experiments at a faster pace than traditional scientific research methods. (Courtesy Photo)
A materials researcher examines experimental data on the ARES artificial intelligence planner. The ARES Autonomous Research System, developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, uses artificial intelligence to design, execute and analyze experiments at a faster pace than traditional scientific research methods. (Courtesy Photo) Disrupting the research process: changing materials science with robotics, AI and autonomy
A materials researcher examines experimental data on the ARES artificial intelligence planner. The ARES Autonomous Research System, developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, uses artificial intelligence to design, execute and analyze experiments at a faster pace than traditional scientific research methods. (Courtesy Photo)

An algorithm is a set of mathematical instructions that a computer can use to solve a problem or perform a calculation. An AI-based algorithm improves its performance through a variety of machine-learning techniques.

The project, also called the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Function Team, or AWCFT, hosted an industry day in Silver Spring, Maryland, Oct. 24.

Project Maven’s objective, according to Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T. “Jack” Shanahan, director for Defense Intelligence for Warfighter Support in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, “is to turn the enormous volume of data available to DoD into actionable intelligence and insights."

During the event, Shanahan discussed the AWCFT’s progress and partnership opportunities with over 300 representatives from industry and academia.

Fast-Moving Effort

Project Maven is a fast-moving effort launched in April 2017 by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work to accelerate the department’s integration of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning into DoD programs.

Official Air Force Image: LtGen John Shanahan Bio
Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T. “Jack” Shanahan is the director for Defense Intelligence for Warfighter Support in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. Air Force photo
Official Air Force Image: LtGen John Shanahan Bio LtGen John Shanahan Bio
Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T. “Jack” Shanahan is the director for Defense Intelligence for Warfighter Support in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. Air Force photo

More than 100 companies attended Project Maven’s industry event, which was sponsored by DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental, the Strategic Capabilities Office and the Army Research Laboratory.

The project’s first task involves developing and integrating computer-vision algorithms needed to help military and civilian analysts encumbered by the sheer volume of full-motion video data that DoD collects every day in support of counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations.

Encouraging Progress

The AWCFT is on track to deliver the first algorithms to warfighting systems by the end of 2017. The team is already developing proposals to take on the next set of challenging intelligence projects.

In Phase II, Project Maven will expand its scope, turning the enormous volume of data available to DoD into actionable intelligence and decision-quality insights at speed.

"[Project Maven] is about moving from the hardware industrial age to a software data-driven information environment and doing it fast and at scale across the Department," Shanahan said.

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinDoDNews)