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Home : Media : News
NEWS | Jan. 10, 2023

NSWC Crane collaborates with Indiana University to conduct research to develop AI/ML detection technique

By Sarah K. Miller, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) collaborated with Indiana University (IU) to conduct artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)—analysis research. This ongoing research partnership started in late 2019 and enabled through the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC).

More than twenty IU undergraduate, graduate, and PhD-level students have participated in this research.

Dr. David Crandall, the Luddy Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Luddy Center for Artificial Intelligence. at Indiana University, says this was beneficial experience for the students.

"NEEC has been a wonderful opportunity for my students to both work on cutting-edge research, and to receive training that they wouldn't normally get in the classroom,” says Dr. Crandall. “It was also an opportunity for us to push interdisciplinary boundaries between fields, because this was a collaboration between Prof. Katy Borner’s expertise in visualization and my lab's expertise in computer vision and machine learning. Together, our groups investigated new techniques for visualizing, debugging, and improving the machine learning algorithms that are at the heart of modern artificial intelligence." Dr. David Crandall speaks to student

Tyler Fitzsimmons, an Engineer at NSWC Crane and technical point of contact for this NEEC project, says this partnership was valuable to pursue.

“Over the three-year time period, this effort was successful and I really enjoyed the program,” says Fitzsimmons. “The students created a lot of great research and moved quickly; they came up with interesting and great solutions. A lot has changed in the AI field in three years and they documented these changes. Ultimately, we’ll be able to provide system users with actionable intelligence.”

Fitzsimmons says this effort would help the Fleet easily understand if an adversary is manipulating data and defend AI algorithms against malicious attempts.

“As AI/ML technology continues to be developed and deployed, we wanted to create some sort of visualization technique so that people at every level of [expertise] can find useful information and interact with AI systems,” says Fitzsimmons. “If an adversary is trying to manipulate our systems, we wanted any user to be able to see that something was happening and know they can respond. A key output from IU built an open source graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for data visualizations (DV) so that users could better understand data distributions and potential anomalies.”

The NEEC program is a way to partner with universities and provide students opportunities to better understand the wide variety of technical career paths available in the Navy. Fiona Ryan, a former IU undergraduate who is currently pursuing a PhD at Georgia Tech, was part of this NEEC project. Ryan, who has also recently been awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, says her NEEC experience has been beneficial.

Fiona Ryan"Having the opportunity to do undergraduate research on computer vision helped me learn how to build deep learning models and explore what state of the art models can and cannot do on difficult tasks,” says Ryan. “My work at Indiana University inspired me to continue pursuing computer vision research, now as a PhD student at Georgia Tech. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn important research skills and formulate my interests in computer vision as an undergraduate student."

Fitzsimmons says some of the students interned at NSWC Crane after participating in the program.

“Throughout the program, IU was engaged on the research side, students got involved, and there were several publications on the topic—which can then be applied to different Navy efforts for image-based ML analysis,” says Fitzsimmons. “A matrix of numbers isn’t helpful to users—this visualization will show users if the system is operationally appropriately or if it’s being attacked so they know what actions they can take. AI and ML is a technology area Crane is highly interested in, and this project ties in nicely with other ongoing efforts such as the Trusted AI research and workforce development initiative.”

Alicia Scott, a former Chief Engineer at NSWC Crane, says the analysis research impacts other AI initiatives at NSWC Crane, including the Trusted AI project.

“NSWC Crane’s continued partnership with local universities in the realm of AI will help us not only enhance our impact for our own projects,” says Scott, “but also the community as we continue to develop new methodologies and cutting edge advancements in the big problems of Trust in AI.”

For more information on this effort, read previous stories from NSWC Crane here.

About NSWC Crane NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.

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