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### Revolutionizing Defense AI: Dstl and Google Cloud Collaborate in Hackathon

Google Cloud and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) team up to deliver a first-of…

A groundbreaking hackathon is being coordinated by Google Cloud and the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

In June 2023, Dstl and Google Cloud formalized a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to accelerate the safe and ethical integration of artificial intelligence (AI) across the UK defense sector. This collaboration led to the organization of a Large Language Model (LLM) hackathon by Dstl and Google Cloud on behalf of the Ministry of Defense’s (MOD) Defence AI Centre (DAIC), aiming to actualize this agreement. This exceptional event, hosted at Google Next, aimed to enhance participants’ understanding of the potentials and risks associated with LLMs in the context of UK defense and security.

The workshop saw the active participation of over 200 individuals utilizing Google Cloud’s advanced relational AI tools to enhance UK defense, security, and prosperity. Twenty groups, guided by Google Cloud AI engineers, comprised Dstl researchers and personnel from various entities, including the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, Space Administration, MOD policymakers, practitioners, and customer researchers.

During the two-day event, participants leveraged Google’s latest AI technologies to develop innovative, ethical, and user-centric prototypes, contributing to the burgeoning landscape of AI development ideas stemming from the MOU. A panel of esteemed officials from HM government and Google’s technology leadership, including the Chief Data Scientist of GCHQ, Head of the DAIC, and Vice President of Engineering of Google Cloud, assessed the prototypes for six accolades, such as “most enlightening failure” and “best intricate achievement.”

Adherence to the MOD’s ethical guidelines for AI and Google AI Principles was a fundamental criterion for all awards conferred.

The award-winning models encompassed LLMs for data-driven predictive maintenance, cyber security threat detection, and image analysis enhancements. These concepts, currently under review for further refinement and testing, are poised to be tailored for adoption by the UK Armed Forces.

According to Dstl CTO Andy Bell:

“Dstl and Google Cloud, representing the recently established MOD, brought together a diverse array of participants to explore, experiment, and address real-world defense challenges using cutting-edge AI technologies. This competition exemplifies how innovative problem-solving can address pressing defense issues, paving the way for advancements in conceptual AI for defense applications.”

Google Cloud’s Technical Director, John Abel, remarked:

“By capitalizing on the unique synergies between the two entities, this competition marks the initial stride in fulfilling the latest MOU inked between Dstl and Google Cloud.”

The hackathon served as a compelling demonstration of how collaboration fuels innovation and ultimately benefits the entire AI ecosystem. Moreover, it provided valuable learning and skill-building opportunities, nurturing the growth of future AI leaders in defense.

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Last modified: February 23, 2024
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