White House Releases Updated 2019 A.I. R&D Strategic Plan

AI strategic plan update 2019

The White House has released an update to the National AI R&D Strategic Plan [pdf].  The new document defines the priority areas for Federal investments in AI R&D.   It builds upon the first National AI R&D Strategic Plan released in 2016, accounting for new research, technical innovations, and other considerations that have emerged over the past three years. The update has been developed by leading AI researchers and research administrators from across the Federal Government, with input from the broader civil society, including from many of America’s leading academic research institutions, nonprofit organizations, and private sector technology companies. Stakeholder feedback validated the provisions of the 2016 Strategic Plan while also calling for greater attention to making AI trustworthy, to partnering with the private sector, and other imperatives.

Summary of GAO Forum on Artificial Intelligence

To gain a better understanding of the emerging opportunities, challenges, and implications resulting from developments in AI, the Comptroller General of the United States convened a Forum on Artificial Intelligence, which was held on July 6 and 7, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

Participants from industry, government, academia, and nonprofit organizations considered the potential implications of AI developments in four sectors–cybersecurity, automated vehicles, criminal justice, and financial services. Participants considered policy implications of broadening AI use in the economy and society, as well as associated opportunities, challenges, and areas in need of more research. Following the forum, participants were given the opportunity to review a summary of forum discussions and a draft of this report. Additionally, a draft of the report was reviewed independently by two experts who did not attend the forum.

Scalable, Secure Chip Design is Focus of New DARPA Effort

Automatic Implementation of Secure Silicon (AISS)

Building security into modern semiconductor chips is more than a technical challenge — it is a complex mix of economic and technology tradeoffs.  Incorporating security into chips is a manual, expensive, and cumbersome task that requires significant time and a level of expertise that is not readily available in most chip and system companies. The inclusion of security also often requires certain trade-offs with the typical design objectives, such as size, performance, and power dissipation. 

A new research effort by the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) — the Automatic Implementation of Secure Silicon (AISS) program — seeks to automate the process of incorporating scalable defense mechanisms into chip designs, while allowing designers to explore economics versus security trade-offs and maximize design productivity.

AISS is part of the second phase of DARPA’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) – a five-year, upwards of $1.5 billion investment in the future of domestic, U.S. government, and defense electronics systems. Under ERI Phase II, DARPA is exploring the development of trusted electronics components, including the advancement of electronics that can enforce security and privacy protections. AISS will help address this mission through its efforts to enable scalable on-chip security.

A Broad Area Announcement (BAA) is forthcoming.  DARPA will hold a Proposers Day on April 10, 2019 at the DARPA Conference Center, located at 675 North Randolph Street, Arlington, Virginia 22203, to provide more information about AISS and answer questions from potential proposers.

Webinar to be held on the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C)


The Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable of the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering will host a webinar to discuss the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C), which was established in 2018 by the National Quantum Initiative Act.

With support from the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and more than 50 companies with a stake in quantum technologies, the QED-C mission is to strengthen U.S. leadership in the quantum technology industry. QED-C is focused on identifying and addressing enabling technology gaps, prioritizing needs for standards and performance metrics; and understanding workforce requirements. A purpose of the consortium is to inform government and academic members of the quantum community of industry priorities and needs. QED-C will also facilitate connections to enhance quantum-related research, innovation, education, and technology transfer.

To register for the webinar please see the GUIRR QED-C webpage

Federal Government Requests Information on Interoperability Between Medical Devices, Data, and Platforms.

NITRD logo

The NITRD Health Information Technology Research and Development Interagency Working Group (HITRD IWG) requests input to collect information on new approaches from industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations, to solve the interoperability issues between medical devices, data, and platforms.

Interested persons are invited to submit comments to the Federal Register on or before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on March 15, 2019.

The Government anticipates hosting a conference in June/July 2019 to allow for additional engagement. The results of the conference discussion, in addition to the written responses to this RFI, will be used to determine next steps in addressing federal efforts in interoperability of data, platforms, and medical devices. This RFI is solely issued to engage with interested parties to inform the Government on developing a strategy for medical device, data, and platform interoperability. The Government will not reimburse costs associated with participating in the conference. The Government may contact respondents regarding their submissions, such as to ask questions, to learn more, or to notify them of further developments related to the effort.

Artificial Intelligence Executive Order Released by the White House

WH boilerplateAs expected the President signed an executive order on artificial intelligence on February 11, 2019.  Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence is centered around maintaining U.S. leadership in research and development and technological superiority in A.I. with a nod toward workforce development and guidance for regulation of certain A.I. applications.

The E.O. is high-level and the language used is very general and broad.  No specific R&D budget recommendations or program directions are made, nor are any federal research agencies given leadership roles.  The order calls on federal science agencies to prioritize AI within their FY 2020 budget requests (which should be close to final at this point) and within existing FY 2019 amounts, despite the fiscal year being nearly half over and final 2019 funds still not approved by Congress.

The document sets out key objectives for sustaining U.S. preeminence in artificial intelligence technology.   These include:  promoting sustained investment in AI R&D; enhanced access to high-quality and fully traceable Federal data, models, and computing resources;  reducing barriers to the use of AI technologies to promote their application while protecting U.S. economic and national security, civil liberties, privacy, and values; ensuring technical standards minimize vulnerability to attacks from malicious actors and maintain innovation, public trust, and public confidence in AI systems; and development of the next generation of American AI researchers and users through apprenticeships; skills programs; and education in STEM fields with an emphasis on computer science.

The E.O. also calls for an action plan to protect the advantage of the United States in AI and technology critical to United States economic and national security interests against strategic competitors and foreign adversaries.