Artificial Intelligence Gains Energy

The development and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) became official policy of the United States with the signing of an Executive Order in February. This order outlines and directs America's government-wide push to advance the use of AI through research and public/private partnerships. In the ensuing months, the Department of Energy has emerged as a leader in these efforts.

In September 2019, the DOE initiated the Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office (AITO) to help channel the department's vast resources across its national lab facilities. These efforts are paying off as DOE partners with Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs as part of the COVID-19 Insights Partnership with the goal to increase data sharing and analysis in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. The DOE is also pressing ahead with private partnerships announcing the First Five Consortium with Microsoft, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the Defense Department's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC). Together they will develop AI-based solutions for data-first responders.

Another cross-government AI initiative involves the DOE partnering with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish new research institutes for AI development. Projects in these institutes will focus on machine learning, synthetic manufacturing, precision agriculture, and forecasting predictions. Research will be done in coordination with state universities nationwide.

Finally, the DOE will be combining their AI focus and their leading role in High Performance Computing (HPC) research to better secure these powerful resources. Malicious cryptocurrency miners look to these HPC machines as a way to gain advantage in the cryptocurrency market. They can (and have) hijack high-performing computers at universities and government facilities to take advantage of their processing power and save themselves from having to set up their own mining systems. DOE is working on AI technology that compares control flow graphs of programs actually running on the system to a catalog of graphs for programs that have permission to run on a given computer. This helps spot unauthorized programs, even if they have been disguised to look like legitimate programming.

There are a number of events and resources that examine the many applications of AI and detail where we are today in the use and development of solutions.

  • 7th Annual Defense Research and Development Summit (January 14, 2021; virtual) - Learn about research and development within the defense sector. The summit will address the latest priorities, advancements and challenges within the development and delivery of innovative solutions.
  • Ai4 2021 Cybersecurity Summit (February 3-4, 2021; virtual) - This event brings together business leaders and data practitioners to facilitate the adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology within the cybersecurity industry. With a use-case oriented approach to content, attendees will get actionable insights from those working on the frontlines of AI.
  • AI Week 2021 (May 10-14; online) - This week-long multi-organization event gathers the biggest names in tech and artificial intelligence to discuss ways to harness emerging technology's potential to revolutionize all aspects of life.
  • American Artificial Intelligence Initiative: Year One Annual Report (white paper) - Published by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, this paper looks at the progress and a continued long-term vision for the American AI Initiative.
  • AI Readiness for Government (white paper) -- As various government agencies prepare to deploy artificial intelligence, a six-pronged framework can help assess AI readiness. To capture AI's potential to create value, government organizations will need a plan to retool the relevant existing processes, upskill or hire key staff, refine approaches toward partnership, and develop the necessary data and technical infrastructure to deploy AI.

We'd love to hear where you are learning about AI progress in government. Let us know what events you're attending in the comments.

Be sure to check out GovEvents for a complete listing of conferences, virtual events, webinars, and a library of on-demand resources.

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