Army seeks smart 'bots in virtual world

Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge seeking artificial intelligence applications

Army researchers want developers' ideas about artificial intelligence for training and simulations for the service's Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge.

The second annual contest is sponsored by the Army Research Laboratory-Simulation and Training Technology Center. Entries are due by Dec. 6 and prizes totaling $25,000 will be awarded.

The goal is to allow the Army access to new possibilities and emerging applications in virtual world applications, according to Tami Griffith, science and technology manager for the research lab, who is heading the program.


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“We expect to see things like intelligent bots, conversational bots, maybe adjustable learning capabilities,” Griffith said in a roundtable with bloggers on Sept. 8, according to a transcript. “So based on the skills of the learner, maybe the instruction would be modified based on that, so if they pause a long time to answer a question, maybe the instructional tools could say we need to do a little remedial work here.”

“So what we expect to see is some really interesting artificial intelligent capabilities that could then be implemented by the modeling and simulation community,” Griffith said.

“The big question is, is the user community prepared to define requirements for these kind of capabilities?” Griffith asked. “And I would argue that their requirements already exist. So where you have a need for a simulation to do a certain thing, that thing could easily be solved, or mitigated, at least, by artificial intelligence that we learn about through this challenge.”

The challenge has been published on the Challenge.gov website started by the Obama administration on Sept. 7. The site currently features 36 challenges sponsored by 16 agencies.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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