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Air Force teams with MIT to launch AI accelerator

The Air Force and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology plan to launch an artificial intelligence accelerator program focused on fast-tracking AI technologies through fundamental research in computational intelligence, reasoning, decision-making and autonomy.

The MIT-Air Force AI Accelerator will research ways to rapidly prototype, scale and apply AI algorithms and systems to broad applications such as decision support, maintenance and logistics, talent management, medical readiness, situational awareness, business operations and disaster relief.

The Air Force plans to invest $15 million a year into the new accelerator. Under the agreement, MIT will form interdisciplinary teams of researchers, faculty and students to work on a number of topics, including AI, machine learning and robotics.  The collaboration is expected to support at least 10 MIT research projects that address challenges that are important to the Air Force and other scientific inquiries related to AI research. Eleven Air Force service members will be selected to work on a research and development team designed to field practical AI solutions for national security challenges.

The MIT Lincoln Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center, will make available its specialized facilities and resources to support Air Force mission requirements.

“MIT is a leading institution for AI research, education and application, making this a huge opportunity for the Air Force as we deepen and expand our scientific and technical enterprise," Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said. "Drawing from one of the best of American research universities is vital."

“This collaboration is very much in line with MIT’s core value of service to the nation,” said Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research. “MIT researchers who choose to participate will bring state-of-the-art expertise in AI to advance Air Force mission areas and help train Air Force personnel in applications of AI.”

As part of its science and technology strategy, the Air Force launched several similar partnerships with universities, each focusing on a different aspect of the Air Force’s emphasis on driving innovation through government, academic and private sector partnerships.

A version of this article was first posted to Campus Technology, a sibling site to Defense Systems.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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