US Army wants artificial intelligence brought to soldiers


The Army Rapid Capabilities Office today announced the winners of a challenge designed to identify artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that could improve the speed and accuracy of electronic warfare operations.


US Army wants artificial intelligence brought to soldiers 2
Known as the Army Signal Classification Challenge, the competition invited participants to prove they had the best artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms for performing "blind" signal classification quickly and accurately. The goal was to find solutions that could reduce the cognitive burden placed on electronic warfare soldiers by identifying signals of interest in the electromagnetic spectrum. (Illustration source: A.I. Magazine)


Known as the Army Signal Classification Challenge, the competition invited participants to prove they had the best artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms for performing "blind" signal classification quickly and accurately. The goal was to find solutions that could reduce the cognitive burden placed on electronic warfare soldiers by identifying signals of interest in the electromagnetic spectrum.

The Army launched the challenge because the classic signal detection process is no longer efficient in understanding the vast amount of information presented to electronic warfare Soldiers on the battlefield by an ever-increasing number of satellite signals, radars, phones and other devices.

More than 150 teams from across universities, laboratories, industry and government participated. The first-place award of $100,000 went to Platypus Aerospace from Aerospace Corporation, a federally-funded research and development center. Second place, with an award of $30,000, went to TeamAU, made up of a team of individual Australian data scientists. Third place and $20,000 went to Thunderingpanda of Motorola Solutions.

"The amount of interest and quality of performance was remarkable, including from nontraditional organizations," said Rob Monto, Emerging Technologies director for the Army Rapid Capabilities Office, or RCO. "In doing this as a challenge, instead of a traditional Request for Information, we were really modeling what industry does to get at a problem quickly. It was performance-based, open to anyone and implemented without a lot of cost or burden placed on those entering. And now, in a matter of less than four months, we know mathematically who has the best performance for this initial step of applying AI and machine learning to signal classification."

The challenge, which opened on April 30 and closed on August 13, gave participants 90 days to develop their models and work with training datasets provided by the RCO. That was followed by two test datasets of varying complexity that were the basis for judging submissions.


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