DOE Establishes New AI Shop

Published: September 11, 2019


Last week, the Department of Energy announced its new Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office, consolidating the agency’s AI efforts under one roof.

In an effort to streamline the department’s AI efforts, the DOE stood up the Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office (AITO) earlier this month. AITO is to serve as a hub for AI-fueled work done at the agency and its labs ranging from national security and cybersecurity, to environmental sustainability and smart cities. The new office, which will report to the DOE Undersecretary for Science, is in response to an executive order on AI released in February of this year.  

According to the office’s website, part of its mission will be to “accelerate the delivery of AI-enabled capabilities, scale the department-wide development and impact of AI, and synchronize AI activities to advance the agency’s core missions, expand partnerships, and support American AI Leadership.”

In a fireside chat last week with U.S. CTO, Michael Kratsios, DOE Secretary Perry stated the office will be a "line item," lasting into the future and is “committed to artificial intelligence for this country” with supercomputers “front and center” to do its work. Holding ownership of the world’s fastest supercomputer, AITO will work hand-in-hand with the agency’s high performance computing resources to accelerate the use of AI. DOE is also working to stand up three exascale computers to boost computing capabilities. Last month, Energy signed a $600M contract to build NNSA’s first exascale computer for delivery in late 2022.

The establishment of the office also comes at the heels of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between DOE and the Weill Family Foundation. The MOU allows use of Energy’s AI capabilities in private sector biomedical and public health research, particularly neurological disorders. The agreement directs the parties to identify mutual areas of focus to advance AI and neuroscience through shared datasets and analysis.

DOE’s announcement of the new office reveals Secretary Perry’s vision for AITO as “facilitating partnerships and access to federal data, models and high performance computing resources for America’s AI researchers. Its mission will be to elevate, accelerate and expand DOE’s transformative work to accelerate America’s progress in AI for years to come.”