16 Oct 2018

Dstl seeking innovation in machine learning for combat modelling

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is working with Digital Catapult to look at solutions in combat modelling in new open call.

Digital Catapult is organising and facilitating a Pit Stop (similar to a “hackathon”) event with the aim of identifying innovative ideas for the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in future Dstl decision-support combat models.

This is designed as an innovation activity where a wide range of Suitably Qualified and Experienced Persons (SQEPs) come together to tackle a specific problem area. Digital Catapult is responsible for the Open Call, reviewing applications, vetting and inviting all potential attendees. At the end of the Pit Stop event, participants will be invited to submit proposals to Dstl for follow-on studies, investigations and/or developments arising from the Pit Stop event discussions and activities. Contracts are available up to a total of £400,000.

Most of MOD’s current combat modelling techniques however either represent command decisions through simple rules-based systems or rely heavily on human users to provide the command context, whilst simulation handles the complex conclusions of the outcome.

These systems often require great physical effort to run and only consider a limited set of scenarios, resulting in significant uncertainty regarding outcomes.

As part of ongoing work looking at developing a new suite of capabilities that both reduce the manpower needed to make credible command decisions and enable the simulations to consider a wider range of situations, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is seeking to understand how AI can be applied to support this mission.

Mark Gould, Principal Analyst at Dstl, said: “By working with Digital Catapult, Dstl will expand its supplier base to include up and coming small and medium enterprises who are developing exciting innovations in AI and modelling but who don’t currently work with defence.

“These new suppliers offer us opportunities not only to expand our supplier base but also to explore how innovations being used outside of defence can be used to improve the support we offer to MOD into the future.”

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