Energy Department Announces AI Grand Challenge

Jun 19, 2020


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it is initiating an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Grand Challenge, seeking expert advice from AI researchers on how to design a series of open competitions that spur innovation and bolster U.S. technological superiority on in AI. The DOE’s Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office (AITO) released a request for information (RFI) on June 10 seeking advice from academia, the private sector, and national laboratories. ASME has identified artificial intelligence as a key cross-cutting technology focus area where mechanical engineers have a significant impact.
In February 2019, the Trump administration released an executive order that directed federal agencies to “drive technological breakthroughs in AI” and promote scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and national security. Following that directive, then-Energy Secretary Rick Perry created the AITO in September 2019 as a “hub for AI-related research across the departments many offices and national laboratories.” The DOE plans to invest an estimated $162 million on AI related research and development in 2020.
As context, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sponsored the original Grand Challenge in 2004 as a contest to design autonomous vehicles, another priority area that ASME has identified as holding significant opportunity for mechanical engineering. DARPA has since used this grand challenge model to expand and push the limits in fields such as cybersecurity, robotics, and advanced radio frequency communications.
AITO’s top research priorities include:
  • Novel methods of learning, including continuous learning models, working with unlabeled or unstructured data, limited data, and the development of AI with common sense
  • Development and validation of trustworthy AI
  • Applications for and defense against adversarial AI
  • Tools to enable better data management and data sharing
The deadline for a response is July 10, 2020.
More information on the AITO can be found here:

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