Air Force, MIT to Launch New AI Research Program

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the U.S. Air Force announced an agreement on May 20 to launch a program to advance artificial intelligence (AI) in Air Force operations.

The program, called the MIT-Air Force AI Accelerator, will “leverage the expertise and resources of MIT and the Air Force to conduct fundamental research directed at enabling rapid prototyping, scaling, and application of AI algorithms and systems,” MIT said.

More specifically, the Air Force said the partnership will encompass AI projects in decision support, maintenance and logistics, talent management, cyber resiliency, vehicle safety, medical readiness, situational awareness, business operations, and disaster relief.

The Air Force will also invest approximately $15 million annually in the project as it builds upon its 50-year collaboration with MIT.

“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 American research universities is vital.”

The collaboration also reciprocates benefits to MIT, as it will back at least 10 MIT research projects on topics that are important to society more broadly, in addition to the Air Force.

“The AI Accelerator provides us with an opportunity to develop technologies that will be vectors for positive change in the world,” said Daniela Rus, an MIT computer science and electrical engineering professor and director of MIT’s Computer Science and AI Laboratory. “This new project will integrate societal implications into research from the outset,” she said.

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