SRI International is leading the development of new software that could revolutionize how computers support decision-makers.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), under its Perceptive Assistant that Learns (PAL) program, has awarded SRI the first two phases of a five-year contract to develop an enduring personalized cognitive assistant. DARPA expects the PAL program to generate innovative ideas that result in new science, new and fundamental approaches to current problems, and new algorithms and tools, and to yield new technology of significant value to the military.
SRI has dubbed its new project CALO, for Cognitive Agent that Learns and Organizes. The name was inspired by the Latin word "calonis", which means "soldiers servant". The goal of the project is to create cognitive software systems, that is, systems that can reason, learn from experience, be told what to do, explain what they are doing, reflect on their experience, and respond robustly to surprise.
The software, which will learn by interacting with and being advised by its users, will handle a broad range of interrelated decision-making tasks that have in the past been resistant to automation. It will have the capability to engage in and lead routine tasks, and to assist when the unexpected happens. To focus the research on real problems and to ensure the software meets requirements such as privacy, security, and trust, the CALO project researchers will themselves use the technology during its development.
SRI is leading the multidisciplinary CALO project team, and, beyond participating in the research program, is also responsible for overall project direction and management and the development of prototypes.
The project is bringing together leading computer scientists and researchers in artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, knowledge representation, human-computer interaction, flexible planning, and behavioral studies at 22 organizations:
Boeing Phantom Works
Carnegie Mellon University
Fetch Technologies, Inc.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Oregon Health & Science University
Oregon State University
Radar Networks, Inc.
State University of New York - Stony Brook
University of California at Berkeley
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
University of Michigan
University of Pennsylvania
University of Rochester
University of Southern California and its Information Sciences Institute
The University of Texas at Austin
University of Washington
University of West Floridas Institute of Human and Machine Cognition
Researchers will organize their work around the areas of learning, reasoning, planning, perception and communication.