energy innovation

DOE’s AITO Aims for World-Leading AI Enterprise

In a recent article, Forbes mentioned the Department of Energy as ‘one of the most science, technology, and innovation-focused US federal agencies.’

With its National Labs as home to some of the top fastest supercomputers in the world and focus on transformative technologies, DOE–the lead agency in the civilian use of AI–is indeed a forward-looking enterprise.

In 2019, the DOE established the Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office (AITO) with an aim to transform the department into a world leading AI-enabled enterprise by accelerating the development and deployment of safe, secure and trusted AI.

The DOE recently released its FY22 Program Plan and FY23 Forecast. The plan says, the department will invest in the intersection of AI and big data to improve the reproducibility, transparency, and scalability of AI-based technologies in order to advance its missions from “nuclear security, energy, and science missions to operation and business components in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

“In 2022, my team is focused on innovative AI governance where responsible and trustworthy AI outcomes are the standard. We do need more human centric integration in the AI lifecycle and a federated catalog of algorithms and data sets so that it is easier to track the impacts of our AI investments, which we are pursuing,” Pamela K. Isom, Director AITO, told Forbes in the interview.

The DOE’s program plan is the AITO’s strategic operating model for the fourth quarter (Q4) of the fiscal year (FY) 2021 through Q4, FY 22 and sets out the priorities established for the department.

The five goals set up by the DOE in the plan are: 1). Responsible and Trustworthy AI/ML, 2). Departmental AI/ML Strategy, 3). AI/ML Council, 4). Strategic Partnership Framework and 5). Workforce Education, Training and Upskilling.

Under these goals, the DOE is focused on an innovative AI governance model based on responsible and trustworthy use of AI and machine learning, initiatives on awareness and publishing guidelines for protecting conversational AI systems from adversarial attacks, establishing AI/ML strategy and AI/ML Council, developing a strategic partnership framework and to work on building a workforce that understands AI’s unique requirements which can develop responsible and trustworthy AI solutions.

At a recent webinar, Pamela Isom also said that it was important to have a robust AI Risk Management Framework as artificial intelligence was being used in critical infrastructure and was, as a result, vulnerable. She also disclosed that the DOE was working on finalizing an AI Risk Management Playbook which is due to release next year.

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