The envelope-pushers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force Research Laboratory are working on a new information capability that, according to releases and contract announcement, would be able to “learn” general plans and processes “from human users by being shown one example.” The program, called “Integrated Learner,” will accomplish the task by assembling knowledge from many sources, including reasoning, in order to learn the tasks, according to a DARPA solicitation. Possible applications include learning air tasking orders, planning, or computer assisted design processes. The Air Force on May 3 awarded a contract for $21 million to Lockheed Martin to develop the computer software by September 2010. Another contract for $24 million went on April 27 to BBN Technologies of Cambridge, Mass., to develop program software by August 2010. DARPA’s goal on the project is to apply the software to cyberspace planning domains in which the program must “learn complex hierarchical task or process models.” Stay tuned for more details.
When the Air Force sets a new program baseline for the B-52 re-engining this fall, there will be “some” cost increase, because the project wasn't previously fully funded, and the Air Force has a better handle on actual supplier costs and knowledge from ground testing, program officials said.