USAF Plans to Make Future Money Decisions With a Little Help from AI

August 7, 2017 Lorena Burgess

The Air Force wants to use artificial intelligence to help it make budgetary decisions. The military’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) awarded Texas-based SparkCognition a $100,000 contract to develop technology connecting various data inputs across USAF’s enterprise, utilizing machine learning methodologies to do so, said Jim Eskew, the company’s manager for partnerships and customer success. In developing the first stage of what DIUx is calling Project Quantum, SparkCognition looks to combine internal data points across the entire service and translate that combined data into actionable reports that will advise USAF’s budgetary decision-makers, Eskew told Air Force Magazine. In order to do this, the AI tech in development will analyze both big picture and grain-level information, from current operations to lessons already learned. Most significantly, the results will all be webbed in a “neural networking model,” Eskew said, meaning with each decision or set of results, the program gets better—and faster, considering what Eskew called “rapid recall of data”— at providing future results. The three-phase project is slated to cost approximately $1 million—SparkCognition set the second and third stage at around $500,000 each—but Eskew said that price is negotiable and largely dependant on the company’s success with the initial work. Work on the project will take place in both Austin, Texas, and Arlington, Va. DIUx—whose aim is to fund industry quickly with the goal of modernizing national defense institutions—is also a main partner in the revamped effort to modernize USAF’s air operations centers. —Gideon Grudo

This originally appeared in Air Force Magazine: http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2017/August%202017/August%2007%202017/Next-Air-Force-One-Not-New-and-Not-Old-SECAFs-New-Priorities-USAF-Wants-to-Stop-Tellin-Airmen-How-to-do-Their-Jobs.aspx

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