Page 24 - FCW, November/December 2021
P. 24

Building a Data-Driven Government
Executive Viewpoint
A conversation with
Technical Project Lead, Weapons Control and Integration Department, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division
A technology leader discusses how an industry partnership is accelerating the Navy’s use of AI.
What do you hope to achieve through your cooperative research and development agreement with NVIDIA? The chief technology officer at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, Jennifer Clift, has put an emphasis on the partnership between government, industry and academia. There’s been a big push to build bridges and make connections between the work we’re doing on the government side and the massive amount of investment and work being done in the private sector.
Our CRADA with NVIDIA is a mutually beneficial way we can take advantage of all that progress.
We’ve previously acquired NVIDIA hardware and software to meet our business needs, and the CRADA is an opportunity
for us to better understand how to use those products with the problem sets we encounter. We’ve been working for about a year now, and the relationship has been incredibly beneficial.
We are particularly interested in advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the hardware and software tools that NVIDIA provides are great assets in pushing that area of research forward in terms of image processing, scenario-driven reinforcement learning, accelerated edge processing — and the list goes on.
How has access to NVIDIA’s experts affected your ability to speed development times or introduce new tools or platforms?
We have weekly meetings with our technical team and the technical support at NVIDIA to share best practices, lessons learned and bugs found. We’ve been able to get quick turnaround on subject-matter expert support from NVIDIA on specific questions that we’ve run into when utilizing their products. We’ve also been able to share information on bugs that we find so they can integrate them
into their review process and resolve them quickly.
We’ve had access to the development teams that are building some of the products we’re using, and we’ve been able to give them our feedback on good features for those products. We’ve also taken part in beta testing and accessed some of the toolkits before they’re released to see if they fit our needs and are able to help us do our jobs better.
That’s just a small sampling of the benefits we’ve seen so far with the expert support from NVIDIA. With the personal interaction we have through the CRADA, we’ve seen a pretty significant speed-up in how quickly problems are resolved, and we’ve decreased our cycle time.
Which Dahlgren programs are taking advantage of the capabilities you’re co-developing with NVIDIA?
I won’t get into the specifics of the programs we’re working on, but I can touch on the areas at Dahlgren that have and will continue to benefit from our relationship with NVIDIA through the CRADA.
In terms of AI and machine learning applications, we’re making progress on automation, biometrics research, unmanned systems control and sensor processing, especially at the edge. In addition, a lot of our modeling and simulation work involves training environments for warfighters.
We’ve just scratched the surface in
terms of the scope, breadth and depth of
the applications that are benefiting from
the parallel processing, machine learning- accelerated tools and hardware that NVIDIA provides. The benefits have been tangible and extensive, and we’re excited to be partnered with them.
This interview continues at FCW-AI-GovExec.

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