Pentagon AI office wants to match software projects with best cloud environment
Andrew Eversden C4ISRNET APRIL15
The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center wants to connect disparate cloud environments so teams across the DoD can find the right cloud that fits their data. (Getty Images)
The Pentagon’s top artificial intelligence office is developing a plan to weave together the department’s cloud-based software development platforms to connect AI projects with cloud environments that fit each venture’s data.
Across the Defense Department, services and components use disparate cloud and software development platforms that could be useful to other components. The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, tasked with accelerating AI adoption at the DoD, wants to link those environments so people across the Pentagon working on AI projects can find the best cloud for their workloads.
The JAIC’s emerging idea would help connect stovepiped organizations through what the office is calling a joint common fabric of development environments.
The JAIC wants to “become the sort of player that pulls everyone together to enable more of a federation-based approach or a fabric-based approach so that workloads … can find a home in the right place,” Nand Mulchandani, chief technology officer of the JAIC, said in an interview. “Or workloads can actually migrate from one cloud to another as needed, and that people have a common identity across these different clouds so that it’s not a clunky confederation of stuff.”
The problem now, he said, is that components have potential AI workloads that they don’t have the capacity to handle, and there’s no department mechanism to connect those workloads with other clouds.
“Currently, the answer is no vacancy, I can’t accommodate you,” Mulchandani said. “Well, the fabric idea all of a sudden now says, ‘Hey, you know what? I will now recommend to you the best cloud for the workload and type you have.’”
The JAIC, established just over two years ago, understands the value of creating an enterprise cloud fabric based on its own experience developing artificial intelligence uses. Mulchandani highlighted a business operations AI project that used the DoD Comptroller’s AVANA cloud, while the JAIC’s Smart Sensor project to detect objects at the tactical edge uses a different cloud called SUNet.
The difference between the two — a business systems cloud and a war-fighting cloud —underscores how various programs have differing cloud needs, and how the JAIC can play a central role in connecting projects with proper clouds. The projects, Mulchandani said, have “different security needs, different data types, different labeling requirements, different GPU [graphics processing unit] compute requirements.”