VA Names Gil Alterovitz Department’s First AI Director

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced its intention to expand its artificial intelligence (AI) research activities, naming Dr. Gil Alterovitz, as the agency’s first director of artificial intelligence.

The announcement from VA notes that the department is undertaking an effort to expand the usage of AI, citing examples of successful projects currently underway in areas including suicide prevention and cancer detection.

Alterovitz is leading a sprint to partner with outside organizations and build models and tools based on small databases that can scale up to cover larger databases. Alterovitz led a similar sprint at the Department of Health and Human Services as a Presidential Innovation Fellow in October 2018, helping HHS create apps and digital tools that use open government databases.

In addition to serving as a Presidential Innovation Fellow, Dr. Alterovitz also worked as a core writer of the National AI Research and Development Strategic Plan. Alterovitz also is a professor at Harvard Medical School, and the director of the Biomedical Cybernetics Laboratory. He brings a background in both medicine and electrical engineering, with research on big data in the biomedical field.

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