Loughborough secures new grant to develop self-learning machines

Loughborough’s expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) has been recognised with a new grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

The funding is for a project looking at the development of Lifelong Learning Machines and will be led by Dr Andrea Soltoggio from the University’s Department of Computer Science.

The Loughborough effort is part of a larger team led by HRL Laboratories from the US, which also includes collaborators at Stanford University, UT Austin, UC Irvine, INRIA, and IT University of Copenhagen.

Although machine learning and AI systems have significantly advanced in recent years, they are currently limited to executing only tasks they are specifically designed to perform and are unable to adapt when encountering situations outside their programming or training. 

The challenge is to develop Lifelong Learning Machines, which adapt continually to new circumstances without forgetting previous learning.

Speaking about the research, Dr Andrea Soltoggio said: “The funding from DARPA and the US Air Force Research Laboratory gives us an amazing opportunity to develop very advanced AI systems. It will also allow us to extend our international collaborations through the other project partners.”

DARPA was established in America over 60 years ago to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security.

The US Air Force Research Laboratory funds projects that contribute the national defence and economic security of America.