Artificial Intelligence Sprinkled Throughout FY 2018 NITRD Supplement

Published: December 13, 2017

Information TechnologyResearch and Development

Several programs outlined within the FY 2018 NITRD Supplement are based on artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.

The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) team released its annual supplement for FY 2018 to outline the R&D activities the federal government is pursuing to support the U.S. ecosystem. When talking about information technologies to boost areas such as economic prosperity, national security, and energy and the environment, it is difficult to go too long without the mention of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. So much so, NITRD formed an interagency group to help define federal strategic priorities in AI R&D. The Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Task Force produced a strategic plan for AI R&D in October 2016 which outlines different AI research projects outside and inside of the federal government.

The budget supplement itself totals $4.46B for FY 2018, a 7% decrease from FY 2017 numbers. Despite this, NITRD outlines a number of investments in the federal space that involve AI technologies, particularly within the subset of machine learning.  

  • Office of the Secretary of Defense: Continued investment in the Cyber Hardened Embedded and Exascale Architecture (CHEETAH) chip. The chip is designed to meet DoD signal and image processing needs through efficiency and an advanced computing architecture. The architecture supports various precision formats to then support machine learning and AI activities.
  • National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation – Next-generation healthcare solutions with sensor, networking, information and machine learning technologies for person-centered healthcare.
  • Army Research Laboratory – Intrusion detection with machine learning to protect operations in the physical, social and cyber domains.
  • Department of Energy, Office of Science - Investigate quantum and neuromorphic computing, including quantum applications and development of quantum testbeds and machine learning to benefit science applications.
  • Department of Energy, Office of Science, National Security Agency and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity – in a joint effort, the agencies are working on a memory and machine learning program.
  • Department of Energy, Office of Science – the agency continues to develop research for “post Moore’s Law era” computing. In doing so, the agency has released a request for proposals on machine learning research to establish testbeds for this computing system designed to mimic a brain’s ability.
  • Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity – the Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks (MICrONS) Program uses cortical computation and microcircuits to develop machine learning algorithms. The algorithms have used predictive coding and sparse coding principles to improve learning on visual recognition tasks.

As can be seen, these range of programs support many national and agency priorities. AI and machine learning products and services are looked upon to improve the quality and efficiency of various markets; from security to education and training to healthcare. For example, machine learning assists in processing large amounts of intelligence data in order to identify anomalies and relevant patterns from national enemies. Moreover, the new technologies can be used to assist precision medicine and health information from devices customized for individuals. AI and machine learning R&D are the future to driving key decisions within the government and increase efficiency in various federal processes.