News Release 

FAU awarded U.S. AFOSR grant to improve learning and operation of AI systems

FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science Researchers Receive $653,393 U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research Grant for Better and Safer Artificial Intelligence

Florida Atlantic University

Grant Announcement

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IMAGE: Dimitris A. Pados, Ph.D., principal investigator, a professor in the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, a fellow of FAU's Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems... view more 

Credit: Florida Atlantic University

Ensuring data quality is critical for artificial intelligence (AI) machines to learn effectively and operate efficiently and safely. Researchers from Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science have received a three-year, $653,393 grant from the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) for a project titled, "Data Analytics and Data Conformity Evaluation with L1-norm Principal Components." For the project, researchers will develop new theory and methods to curate training data sets for AI learning and screen real-time operational data for AI field deployment.

The project team is spearheaded by Dimitris A. Pados, Ph.D., principal investigator, a professor in the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, a fellow of FAU's Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE), the Charles E. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in Engineering and Computer Science, and director of the Center for Connected Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence (ca-ai.fau.edu) who is nationally renowned in the areas of machine learning and connected AI.

This latest project for AFOSR will involve basic research to develop novel mathematical methods that measure the conformity of individual data points with respect to all others available, in a blind, unsupervised manner. The developed mathematical data-conformity evaluation schemes will process any given data set represented by a high-dimensional matrix (also known as tensor) and convert each data entry to a continuous zero-to-one "alert conformity value" (zero implying highly-conforming data; one implying highly non-conforming data).

"AI systems learn from examples and the quality - correctness and completeness - of the set of examples, presented to an AI machine to learn from, and this is obviously a core matter in AI technology. After training, the AI machine will eventually be let out 'in the wild' to operate on its own - autonomously - on fresh real-time sensed data," said Pados. "Non-conforming sensed data may represent critical and actionable information like an internal system or sensor failure. Our ability to identify this 'non-conforming' data could potentially make AI and autonomously operated systems safer than human-operated machines of present time."

AFOSR accomplishes its mission by investing in basic research efforts for the Air Force in relevant scientific areas, which include engineering and complex systems; information and networks; physical sciences; and chemistry and biological sciences.

"With this important grant from the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research, professors Pados and George Sklivanitis and the project team will develop cutting-edge technology to identify faulty, unusual and irregular information for AI learning and operations that rely on data, and will provide critical alerts to troubleshoot a problem before it occurs," said Stella Batalama, Ph.D., dean of FAU's College of Engineering and Computer Science. "This data-quality evaluation technology is being developed for applications in a number of industries ranging from the military to cybersecurity to medical diagnostics."

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About FAU's College of Engineering and Computer Science:

The FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science is internationally recognized for cutting edge research and education in the areas of computer science and artificial intelligence (AI), computer engineering, electrical engineering, bioengineering, civil, environmental and geomatics engineering, mechanical engineering, and ocean engineering. Research conducted by the faculty and their teams expose students to technology innovations that push the current state-of-the art of the disciplines. The College research efforts are supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Education (DOEd), the State of Florida, and industry. The FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science offers degrees with a modern twist that bear specializations in areas of national priority such as AI, cybersecurity, internet-of-things, transportation and supply chain management, and data science. New degree programs include Masters of Science in AI (first in Florida), Masters of Science in Data Science and Analytics, and the new Professional Masters of Science degree in computer science for working professionals. For more information about the College, please visit eng.fau.edu.

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU's world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU's existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit fau.edu.

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