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New AI Research Hub to Leverage Artificial Intelligence to Tackle Major Military Challenges

AFC Commander General John Murray gives Brigadier General Matthew Easley the patch for the U.S. Army Futures Command.

The U.S. Army Artificial Intelligence (AI) Task Force was inaugurated when Commander General John Murray applied the U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC) patch to the left arm of Brigadier General Matthew Easley’s uniform with a hearty slap.

Easley is now officially in charge of the new taskforce. In close collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the U.S. Army has also established the first AI Hub to be located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center.

A key role of the AI Hub will be to increase collaboration with ANSYS and other academic, industry and government agency partners.

The Army AI Taskforce will be focused on developing and prototyping AI capabilities for several critical areas of the Army — including an on-going project focused on predictive maintenance. With the rapid advances in AI and physics-based simulation, the taskforce has a tremendous opportunity to leverage the close partnership between CMU and ANSYS.

The AI Hub brings together ANSYS’ industry-leading engineering simulation and CMU’s world-renown expertise in AI and computer science to benefit the Army’s focus on increasing readiness and resiliency through predictive maintenance

CMU President Farnam Jahanian, Secretary of the Army Mark Esper and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey all spoke about the importance and benefits of establishing a joint hub for research into AI for the military — and other applications.

Exploring AI Possibilities as a Panelist

I was pleased to receive an invitation to the AI Task Force event.

Beyond the invitation, I was honored to be a panelist for a discussion on “Leveraging Mission-Focused Research and Industry Collaboration to Operationalize AI.”

AI panelists (left to right): Brigadier General Matthew Easley, Shane Shaneman (Director, Strategic Government Research – DoD/IC, CMU), Matthew Sanfilippo (Chief Partnership Officer, College of Engineering, CMU) and Sin Min Yap (Vice President, Strategy & Partnerships, ANSYS).

The purpose of the panel session was to open a dialogue between US DoD, industry and academia. Questions included:

  • How will the new center bring DoD, academia and industry together to address the DoD’s key challenges related to AI?
  • How should industry expect to engage with the new Army AI Hub?

What are some examples of academia and industry working together that could be used as an example of how the new Hub will operate?

How Simulation Can Help Solve U.S. Military’s Challenges in Readiness and Resiliency

Simulation and digital twins can help monitor the conditions of aircraft and other aerospace and defense equipment.

Three major trends emerged from our discussion:

  • The shrinking of defense spending.
  • The need to extend the life of major military platforms to avoid building new military equipment (i.e., B-52 aircraft)
  • The volatile nature of today’s security environment.

Shrinking defense spending means that the army must reduce costs while also maintaining readiness. One way of doing that is by sustaining the military equipment in the field.

ANSYS Twin Builder is well-suited to this task. It can create digital twins that monitor the conditions of assets so they can be maintained in a cost-effective manner and integrated into multiple simulations to explore the impact of various operational missions and changing environments.

ANSYS' topology optimization solution can also shrink defense spending. The tool helps engineers design lighter components. These will help save material and fuel costs.

Finally, ANSYS Additive Suite helps engineers design parts that can be built using additive manufacturing (AM) techniques. AM makes it easier to build topology optimized parts and simplify supply lines. AM can build one part on the spot — instead of traditional manufacturing methods that require shipping a part that is taken out of an order of hundreds or thousands of parts.

The concept of autonomous simulation could radically disrupt the engineering sector. Autonomous simulation involves performing simulation automatically with no human interaction. This concept is the nexus of physics-based simulation and AI. It will be thoroughly explored at the new AI Hub at CMU.

Takeaways from the AI Task Force Event

Simulation and digital twins can help monitor the conditions of aircraft and other aerospace and defense equipment.

AI is an immense field with endless possibilities for improving all aspects of our lives — including the military sector.

No one entity can do it alone, so it is necessary to bring complementary institutions together, like CMU, ANSYS and the U.S. Army.

Building on the well-established partnership between CMU and ANSYS gives the U.S. Army a head start on this exciting endeavor.

Together we have an open, scalable, agnostic, actionable and forward-thinking solution that will lead to great success in AI.

We have already begun to solve the challenges of today. Now, we have the vision and thought leadership to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

To learn more about the AI, read: Navigating Toward Full Autonomy.