National Science Foundation commands artificial intelligence revolution

The National Science Foundation is looking for a few good artificial intelligence revolutionaries. The agency today updated its call for new research to advance and integrate research of artificial intelligence, computer vision, human language research, robotics, machine learning, computational neuroscience, cognitive science and several areas of computer graphics.

The new research would be part of the NSF's yearly $90 million Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS) grant program, where about 200 researchers compete for a variety of programs that can be funded for as much as $3 million or as little as $500,000.

In the AI realm, the NSF's Robust Intelligence program encompasses myriad components.  The driving idea behind RI programs advance and integrate the research traditions of artificial intelligence, computer vision, human language research, robotics, machine learning, computational neuroscience, cognitive science, and related areas, the NSF said.

For example, the NSF is looking for a number of advances, including:

  • Problem solving architectures that integrate reasoning, motor, perceptual, and language capabilities and that can learn from experience.
  • Hybrid architectures that integrate or combine different methods, such as deductive, probabilistic, analogical, case-based, symbolic, or sub-symbolic reasoning.
  • Computational models of human cognition, perception, and communication for commonsense or specialized domains and tasks, including acquisition and representation of ingredient knowledge.
  • Fresh advances in and integration across areas of artificial intelligence, such as machine learning, planning and problem solving, knowledge representation, and multi-agent systems.
  • New approaches to longstanding problems in computer vision, for example concerning the recognition and modeling of contours, shapes, regions, objects, people, scenes, events, activities, in 2D images, 3D images or video.
  • Vision systems that capture biological components and capabilities.
  • Innovative advances in computer graphics and computational imaging that contribute to robust generation and causal modeling of images and video.

In related news the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently said it wants to build avant-garde artificial intelligence (AI) software known as a Machine Reading Program (MRP) that can capture knowledge from naturally occurring text and transform it into the formal representations used by AI reasoning systems. The idea is that such an intelligent learning system would unleash a wide variety of new AI applications - military and civilian -- ranging from intelligent bots to personal tutors.

Meanwhile the NFS is also looking to sponsor research on  programs in calls Information Integration and Informatics (III) as well as Human-Centered Computing (HCC).  With III the agency is looking to spur advances in transforming of raw data into information and knowledge into new forms of digital content, representations of digital content, access frameworks, delivery services and presentation and analysis tools. It is also looking at long-term preservation and archiving of valuable data assets, among other topics, the NSF said.

The HCC program ranges from research that extends the capability of and responds to the needs of individuals through teams as coherent goal-oriented groups through society as an unstructured collection of connected people, the NSF said.  The computer dimension looks at all manner of mobile communication and human interaction, the NSF said.

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