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USAF solicits ‘extreme computing' technology prototypes

An image of Intel's Nervana Neural Network Processor. Development of advanced neural networking capabilities, coupled with those focused on nanocomputing and other edge network technologies, is part of the AFRL's new extreme computing initiative. (Intel Corporation)

The US Air Force (USAF) is soliciting emerging technology prototypes from industry, focusing on how to further enable adoption and integration of ‘extreme computing' systems and programmes into USAF operations.

Issued by the Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL's) information directorate, the Extreme Computing broad agency announcement (BAA) calls for research and development (R&D) prototypes covering several major technical areas of interest.

The areas include “computational diversity and efficient computing architectures, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) in embedded systems and architectures, computing at the edge, nanocomputing, space computing, and robust algorithms and applications”, according to the 20 September BAA solicitation.

AFRL officials have set aside a total of USD497 million to finance R&D work and prototype development on selected industry offerings submitted to the BAA, officials said in the announcement.

Individual awards issued under the BAA will range between USD1 million and USD3 million per award, and no single award will exceed a three-year development window, the solicitation stated.

With proposals focusing on advanced computing technologies and applications, the prototype solutions sought will feature “revolutionary computational capabilities, which enable greater system adaptability, autonomy, and intelligence while improving information availability” across the service's command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) enterprise, AFRL officials wrote.

Specifically, USAF researchers are seeking systems and applications to address high-performance embedded computing requirements for current and future service platforms.

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