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Air Force Selects GURU for the AVATAR Program

Phase 2 Contract Selected for New Artificial Intelligence Solution to Defense Against Hypersonic Threats

MSBAI, an Air Force Techstars 2020 company, has been selected for an AFWERX Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 2 contract in the 20.1 cycle, in which they will adapt their GURU cognitive AI assistant to revolutionize the ability of USAF and MDA to predict hypersonic threat trajectories.

We’ve reached a zero to one moment when all engineers will begin to use simulation to inform their day to day work, and it will no longer just be a small number of specialists running these codes. MSBAI develops a ‘Universal Interface for Simulation’ called GURU — a cognitive AI assistant that enables untrained users to run specialized simulation software.

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This new Phase 2 DoD contract tasks GURU as a new solution to the critical problem of intercepting hypersonic threat weapons. GURU will enable the Missile Defense Agency to radically accelerate setup of threat trajectory simulations — from hours down to minutes. Unspecialized users will harness powerful prediction software, and take advantage of the premier supercomputing facility at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) DoD Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC).

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“Lowering the initial training barrier will be critical for the Air Force using supercomputing to rapidly create solutions,” said Bryon J. Foster, Director of AFRL’s DoD Supercomputing Resource Center.

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GURU is an ‘AI layer’ between human and computer, and will become a new commercial solution to enabling engineers to begin using a broad range of powerful simulation software like never before. In this program, MSBAI will demonstrate GURU autonomously running the highly sophisticated AVATAR trajectory simulation software from SAIC. 

“SAIC is delighted to partner with MSB.AI, through the Techstars program, and support them on their SBIR phase 2 win in partnership with AFWERX and the Missile Defense Agency,” said Jim Hyatt, SAIC’s Senior Director of Missile Defense Programs. “This work will bring artificial intelligence to SAIC’s AVATAR, 6-dof missile simulation. Government users will now be able to digitally develop optimal defense architectures by running millions of emerging threat scenarios before investing in hardware.”

AFRL and AFWERX have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research process in an attempt to speed up the experience, broaden the pool of potential applicants and decrease bureaucratic overhead. Beginning in SBIR 18.2, and now in 20.1, the Air Force has begun offering ‘Special’ SBIR topics that are faster, leaner and open to a broader range of innovations.

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