Shrivastava Receives $2.5M from DARPA to Teach AI Systems Adaption

Apr 21, 2020

A University of Maryland expert in computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) has been awarded $2.5 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to teach AI systems how to adapt in evolving situations in the real-world.

Abhinav Shrivastava, an assistant professor of computer science with an appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), is principal investigator of the project, working with with professors Carl Vondrick at Columbia University and Abhinav Gupta at Carnegie Mellon University.

As AI increasingly becomes ubiquitous in various aspects of military operations—particularly aerial or ground-based autonomous vehicles—it will be essential for military AI applications to be aware of dynamic environments, and act effectively when confronted by evolving situations.

Current AI systems are unable to adapt to evolving situations the same way as people, who can recognize new experiences and adjust their behavior accordingly. For example, humans will naturally respond to an adversary’s surprise actions, new vehicles, a change in weather, or unfamiliar terrain.

The goal of Shrivastava’s research is to teach an AI system to recognize these dynamic environments and react appropriately, without needing to be retrained on a large data set.

Funding for the project comes from DARPA’s Science of Artificial Intelligence and Learning for Open-world Novelty (SAIL-ON) program, which aims to quantify and characterize change in open-world domains, create AI systems that can react to change in those domains, and then evaluate those systems.

Story by Maria Herd