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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has started a new program focused on the Science of Artificial Intelligence and Learning for Open-world Novelty (SAIL-ON). The SAIL-ON program, with help from researchers from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), aims to develop AI systems that can act appropriately in situations that were not previously encountered.

Professor Stephan Mandt and Professor Padhraic Smyth, along with Professor of Cognitive Sciences Jeffrey Krichmar, are part of a research team headed by SRI International and also involving the University of Washington. UCI will be awarded $1.6 million for 3.5 years, funding one postdoctoral fellow and three Ph.D. students conducting fundamental research on open-world novelty detection for AI and machine learning systems.

“Our research will allow machine learning systems to automatically discover novel situations as they encounter subtle changes in measurements and data streams from the world around them, enabling them to detect limitations in new environments and adapt in an automated fashion to improve their performance,” says Mandt, who serves as the project’s principal investigator. “Humans are able to do this type of adaptation quite easily, but it is still very much an open research problem for artificial systems. Meta-algorithms that can recognize novelty and adapt accordingly will become more and more important as algorithmic decision-making becomes increasingly prevalent in the world.”

Shani Murray