Monday, April 25, 2016

Charles River Analytics Inc, developer of intelligent systems solutions, announces a contract awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), as part of its Building Resource Adaptive Software Systems (BRASS) program. BRASS aims to build adaptable software systems that are robust to changes in their ecosystems. These systems may someday be able to adapt to changes in the technological environment rather than require the many hours currently needed to adapt software when hardware, resources, or external devices change. As part of BRASS, Charles River Analytics will develop Probabilistic Representation of Intent Commitments to Ensure Software Survival, known as PRINCESS. The four-year contract is valued at over $8 million.

PRINCESS will incorporate new advances in machine learning and probabilistic modeling to address the challenge of building adaptable software systems so they may understand, learn, and adapt to changes. Charles River will ground its research and development in unmanned underwater vehicle (UUVs) platforms, which must quickly and easily adapt to new missions, computational capabilities, hardware, operating environments, and missions.

“We are trying to adapt software used to operate autonomous vehicles,” said Dr. Avi Pfeffer, Principal Scientist at Charles River and principal investigator for the PRINCESS effort. “These vehicles need to operate autonomously in dynamic environments, which requires the ability to quickly adapt to changes in the environment. Since they interact with different devices and computation architecture, they need to adjust over a long lifecycle. We envision the software being able to adapt in real time as it is operating autonomously in response to changes in its environment, such as the loss of a sensor. We also envision the software being able make significant adaptations while docked, such as incorporating a new kind of sensor with new capabilities and a different data format.”

In addition to expertise in the core technologies of probabilistic modeling and machine learning, Charles River’s experience with systems integration, software engineering, and UUV platforms will be pivotal on the PRINCESS program. Further, Charles River Analytics has assembled a world-class team for the program, including experts in program analysis, formal verification, operating systems, and information integration from Harvard University, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Southern California.

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This material is based upon work supported by the United States Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under Contract No. FA8750-16-C-0045. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Air Force and DARPA.