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DOE Plans AI Training to Develop IT Talent; Cheryl Ingstad Quoted

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Cheryl Ingstad
Cheryl Ingstad

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Office, within the Department of Energy (DoE), has announced its plans to launch an AI training module in fall 2020 to develop talent in computer science, the FedScoop reported on Friday

“One of the things we’ve heard is that the scientists really want to work in the area of their specialty, but they don’t want to become AI experts to utilize these tools or to manage the data,” said Cheryl Ingstad, director of AITO. “So how do we get data managers and how do we get AI experts to the operational levels here and the research levels to support our scientists that way?”

Future modules will be developed by the Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office (AITO) in coordination with DOE‘s 17 National Laboratories and see experts explain the benefits AI can bring to their organizations.

DoE has faced challenges to recruit, retain and develop a workforce structure for AI professionals. With the training module, AITO has planned to convert the technology workforce employees with an interest in AI into specialists. 

The department has drafted an AI strategy that will be integrated throughout DoE; however, it must be reviewed before the agency takes action. DoE has also projected that the department will chair an AI working group to share best practices and provide dashboards that inform transformations across agencies.

DoE’s AI strategy has included partnerships between internal offices and external agencies, academia, first responders and the industry to address adversarial AI and cyberattacks that cause machine learning models to misinterpret system inputs. 

AITO adversarial AI partnerships are in the beginning stages, but DOE sees itself as entering a new “space race” with AI for the next several decades most likely, Ingstad said. “It matters who wins,” Ingstad added. “We are in this race against others, who do not have the same values that we have.”

The DoE AITO has also launched a consortium with Microsoft to advance the development of AI-based tools to enable first responders to better respond to natural disasters and help them save lives and protect property.

The First Five Consortium will bring together government, industry, academic and nonprofit organizations to develop AI platforms in support of humanitarian relief and disaster response efforts. 

“AITO is proud to lead on getting near real-time information into the hands of our First Responders,” Ingstad said in regards to the First Five. “This will allow them to save more lives and protect assets and our nation’s resources. This is just one project of the broader effort, which will include contributions from all our partners, to use technology to improve humanitarian assistance and disaster response in our nation.”