DARPA announces fast-track AIE program
On August 20, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) posted a new description for the Artificial Intelligence Exploration (AIE) program.
DARPA’s mission is to make strategic, early investments in science and technology that will have long-term positive impact on our nation’s security. In support of this mission, DARPA has pioneered groundbreaking research and development (R&D) in Artificial Intelligence (AI) for more than five decades.
Today, DARPA continues to lead innovation in AI research through a large, diverse portfolio of fundamental and applied R&D AI programs aimed at shaping a future for AI technology where machines may serve as trusted and collaborative partners in solving problems of importance to national security. The AI Exploration (AIE) program is one key element of DARPA’s broader AI investment strategy that will help ensure the U.S. maintains a technological advantage in this critical area.
Past DARPA AI investments facilitated the advancement of “first wave” (rule based) and “second wave” (statistical learning based) AI technologies. DARPA-funded R&D enabled some of the first successes in AI, such as expert systems and search, and more recently has advanced machine learning algorithms and hardware. DARPA is now interested in researching and developing “third wave” AI theory and applications that address the limitations of first and second wave technologies.
The pace of discovery in AI science and technology is accelerating worldwide. AIE will enable DARPA to fund pioneering AI research to discover new areas where R&D programs awarded through this new approach may be able to advance the state of the art. AIE will enable DARPA to go from idea inception to exploration in 90 days.
AIE Opportunities will be announced via Presolicitation Notices issued under this Program Announcement (PA), DARPA-PA-21-04. These AIE Opportunities will solicit proposals and will be open for a maximum of 30 days from publication. AIE Opportunities will describe rapid projects comprising two phases. During these periods of performance, very high-risk, high-reward topics will be investigated with the goal of determining feasibility and clarifying whether the area is ready for increased investment.
The ultimate goal of each AIE Opportunity is to invest in research that leads to prototype development that may result in new, game-changing AI technologies for U.S. national security. The prototype projects pursued under AIE may include, but are not limited to, proofs of concept; pilots; novel applications of commercial technologies for defense purposes; creation, design, development, demonstration of technical or operational utility; or combinations of the foregoing, related to a prototype.