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Zhiting Hu Awarded $4M+ Grant to Propel AI Collaboration in Defense Research

  • By HDSIComm
  • January 24, 2024

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community (IC) have awarded a substantial grant exceeding $4 million to lead investigator, Assistant Professor, Zhiting Hu (Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute UC San Diego) and co-investigators: Eric Xing (Carnegie Mellon University), Jun-Yan Zhu, Daisy Wang, (University of Florida), Jaime Ruiz (University of Florida), and Eric Ragan (University of Florida) for their research project Concept-centric Representation, Learning, Reasoning, and Interaction (CReLeRI).

The grant was awarded under the Environment-driven Conceptual Learning (ECOLE) program, a program designed to advance computational systems capable of robustly analyzing multimodal data and engaging in collaborative efforts with human analysts during time-sensitive, critical missions.


The awarded project, Concept-centric Representation, Learning, Reasoning, and Interaction (CReLeRI) addresses fundamental challenges in contemporary machine learning, particularly the limitations imposed by the “closed-world” assumption, reliance on massive training data, and the creation of hard-to-interpret black-box representations. The project introduces a novel perspective of Concept-centric Representation, Learning, Reasoning, and Interaction, bringing about methodological innovations in several key areas:

  1. Symbolic Representation Schemes: CReLeRI introduces new symbolic representation schemes for object/activity concepts, supporting easy composition and simple-to-complex incremental learning.
  2. Efficient Learning Mechanisms: The project focuses on efficient learning mechanisms that acquire an expanding knowledge base of concepts from a self-adjusting curriculum of data, reducing dependency on massive training datasets.
  3. Rich Reasoning Approaches: CReLeRI incorporates rich reasoning approaches utilizing the concept base for various utilities in real scenarios, enhancing the interpretability and applicability of AI systems.
  4. Human-Machine Interaction: The project places significant emphasis on developing intuitive interfaces and protocols for interacting with human collaborators. This facilitates further learning and deep analysis, breaking down barriers between AI systems and human analysts.

The CReLeRI project, marks a significant step towards a new era of AI collaboration in defense. The research will lays the foundation for more interpretable, adaptable, and collaborative AI systems that can play a crucial role in mission-critical scenarios for the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.