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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

AI Development in DOD, Government.

A brief examination of the problem.

Best Practices for Building the AI Development Platform in Government 

October 28, 2021    6959

The US Army and other government agencies are defining best practices for building appropriate AI development platforms for carrying out their missions. (Credit: Getty Images) 

By John P. Desmond, AI Trends Editor 

The AI stack defined by Carnegie Mellon University is fundamental to the approach being taken by the US Army for its AI development platform efforts, according to Isaac Faber, Chief Data Scientist at the US Army AI Integration Center, speaking at the AI World Government event held in-person and virtually from Alexandria, Va., last week.  

Isaac Faber, Chief Data Scientist, US Army AI Integration Center

“If we want to move the Army from legacy systems through digital modernization, one of the biggest issues I have found is the difficulty in abstracting away the differences in applications,” he said. “The most important part of digital transformation is the middle layer, the platform that makes it easier to be on the cloud or on a local computer.” The desire is to be able to move your software platform to another platform, with the same ease with which a new smartphone carries over the user’s contacts and histories.  

Ethics cuts across all layers of the AI application stack, which positions the planning stage at the top, followed by decision support, modeling, machine learning, massive data management and the device layer or platform at the bottom.  

“I am advocating that we think of the stack as a core infrastructure and a way for applications to be deployed and not to be siloed in our approach,” he said. “We need to create a development environment for a globally-distributed workforce.”   

The Army has been working on a Common Operating Environment Software (Coes) platform, first announced in 2017, a design for DOD work that is scalable, agile, modular, portable and open. “It is suitable for a broad range of AI projects,” Faber said. For executing the effort, “The devil is in the details,” he said.   

The Army is working with CMU and private companies on a prototype platform, including with Visimo of Coraopolis, Pa., which offers AI development services. Faber said he prefers to collaborate and coordinate with private industry rather than buying products off the shelf. “The problem with that is, you are stuck with the value you are being provided by that one vendor, which is usually not designed for the challenges of DOD networks,” he said.

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