DOE Allocates $20M to Develop AI and Machine Learning Tools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced up to $20 million in funding to accelerate the incorporation of machine learning and artificial intelligence into energy technology and product design processes.

The Design Intelligence for Formidable Energy Reduction Engendering Numerous Totally Impactful Advanced Technology Enhancements (DIFFERENTIATE) program seeks to enhance energy innovation by incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning into energy technology development.

“Artificial intelligence and machine learning has the potential to literally transform every aspect of the world as we know it, and accelerating this technology is crucial to strengthening our country’s economic and national security,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “DOE-fueled artificial intelligence is being utilized across all sectors, from strengthening cybersecurity and national security, increasing energy efficiency, optimizing grid security and resiliency, and developing innovative health solutions. The DIFFERENTIATE program is the latest example of DOE paving the way towards the New American Energy Era.”

In order to organize these efforts, DIFFERENTIATE identifies six general mathematical optimization problems that are common to many design processes. It then conceptualizes several machine learning tools that could help engineers execute and solve these problems in a manner that dramatically accelerates the pace of energy innovation. These projects will seek to develop enhanced artificial intelligence and machine learning tools. Proposals are expected to explicitly identify a selected challenge problem, an anticipated solution, a data acquisition strategy, major development risks, and an anticipated path to market for the final tool or software utility developed.

Up to $5 million of the $20 million allocated by ARPA-E under this funding opportunity will be made available specifically for small businesses under ARPA-E’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, with the $15 million balance available to all applicants.

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