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New Maybe. Though Watson may save DoD procurement. Supposedly.
AF.mil from August 2015:

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Cognitive thinking machines that can critically analyze and process information accurately and at a rate faster than human capability are the type of meta-advance technologies that Sci-Fi fanatics dream of, and the Air Force is seeking to leverage this innovative technology in the world of acquisitions.

Recently, IBM’s Watson, a cognitive computer tool that won Jeopardy! revealed just how transformative and empowering cognitive computers are to industries on a global scale. According to IBM’s website, cognitive computers like Watson are able to “fast-track life-saving research, create connections in cold cases, spark creativity, and uncover new insights at an unparalleled pace.”

Employing this same type of technology, the Air Force hopes to address the challenge of making contracting more accessible to internal and external customers. In a 2006 Government Accountability Office report, “…the challenge of operating in accordance with complex federal acquisition regulations discourages small and innovative businesses from partnering with the government in emerging markets.”

By providing an intuitive and critically thinking system that understands the complexities of requirements and flexibility within the Department of Defense contracting statutes, regulations, practices and policies, such hurdles could potentially be eliminated.

Dr. Camron Gorguinpour, Director of Transformational Innovation for the United States Air Force, Office of the Assistant Secretary (Acquisitions), is optimistic about the system. “Of course this is an initial effort; however, over time I expect these types of tools can help people in the Air Force, government and industry better navigate what is a very complex bureaucracy.”

The new application would be a benefit to program managers and contracting personnel particularly in regards to automated processes that support warfighting requirements, systems engineering and risk management. Additionally the technology would provide contracting officers with the ability to swiftly answer difficult questions thereby providing more time to effectively focus on creating agreements and other components of acquisitions.

Based on the system’s underlying algorithms, the Air Force acquisition’s cognitive computing system will access a variety of available data sources to minimize error.

“There are thousands of pages of policies, laws and regulations that affect Air Force acquisitions. We need to create a baseline platform and teach the system how to understand context so that it can answer questions accurately and become a resource that personnel can access,” said Gorguinpour.

The small business innovative research solicitation for the system is divided into three phases: developing a design that utilizes cognitive computing to provide user answers in natural language questions about the Defense contracting system, evaluating the system and finally, develop a ready-for-deployment application along with several expansion support requirements.

Gorguinpour hopes that the cognitive computing system will allow people to be more innovative in the types of acquisitions they pursue.

“It’s our aim to make this technology available to the public and industry so that everyone can have an opportunity to find creative solutions to our most challenging acquisition barriers,” he said.

Applied Research in Acoustics, LLC, in Washington, D.C., and KalScott Engineering in Lawrence, Kansas, were awarded the contract July 31 to create a natural language query system that leverages commercial sector advances in cognitive computing algorithms to provide users insights into Defense contracting statutes, regulations, practices, and policies. An application should be completed by summer 2018.


The US government buys more stuff than anyone, and there is a mountain of rules and regulations and procedures that have to be followed. The complexity means that lots of training is required for people who run the system, but the pay is often low and the stress is high, so new people often take the training, work the required period of time (if any) with the agency, then leave for better pay at a different agency or leave for a private company that does business with the government. So then someone new has to be hired and trained. Churn is a big problem, and the system as a whole is a nightmare.

Washington Post from March 2016:

Critics have long focused on the schedule delays and cost overruns that have routinely plagued major weapons programs. But Thornberry, who said the military has had acquisitions trouble since “the Continental Army of George Washington,” said the problems have become so bad that they now create a national security threat.

“The technology cycle is faster than it’s ever been, and speeding up,” he said at a Brookings Institution forum earlier this month. “If it takes us another 20 years to field the next airplane or the next ship, it’s going to be out date by the time it gets there, and we will not be able to defend the country.”


There are lots of reasons for the delays in fielding weapons systems, but the complexity of the procurement system plays a big role.

We've been hearing about the promise of thinking machines since SF stories in the 50s or earlier. Perhaps we're finally getting close to realizing some of them. Will IBM be able to do it? Dunno. But maybe.

Cheers,
Scott.
New Well, I hope Watson is successful.
So IBM can continue to contribute to the retirement fund.

I would hate to outlast the company! :)
Alex

"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

-- Isaac Asimov
New Watson?
Not really very popular.

http://www.cringely.com/2016/03/08/whats-happening-at-ibm/

Let's review the facts.

16 straight quarters of declining revenue.

A CEO who just got a $4.5M bonus for this.

A product no-one wants, and a raft of other products that are just crap.

IBM is doomed. It's just taking a long time to die, because inertia.
New Cringely's record lately wrt IBM hasn't been too good. 110k layoffs in 2015?
New But I really like his attempt at nicknaming Mz Rometty "Ginni the Eagle".
From http://www.cringely.com/2016/03/22/ginni-the-eagle-ibms-corporate-transformation/ , just below the second "corporate life cycle" graph.

Dunno if anyone besides PW gets the reference, though?
--
Christian R. Conrad
Same old username (as above), but now on iki.fi

(Yeah, yeah, it redirects to the same old GMail... But just in case I ever want to change.)
New If the feds required davis bacon on IT projects their ass would be in the graveyard
unfortunately the have one product DB2 vs the other product Oracle DB. Government is in luv with both.
always look out for number one and don't step in number two
New "Government is in luv with both" -- does that mean they both suck equally?
     It's interesting to see all the Microsoft is Doomed stories recently. - (Another Scott) - (10)
         They won't die soon enough for me. - (a6l6e6x) - (1)
             They should just for the Get Windows X crap -NT - (scoenye)
         Eh, it gets clicks. - (pwhysall) - (7)
             Maybe. Though Watson may save DoD procurement. Supposedly. - (Another Scott) - (6)
                 Well, I hope Watson is successful. - (a6l6e6x)
                 Watson? - (pwhysall) - (4)
                     Cringely's record lately wrt IBM hasn't been too good. 110k layoffs in 2015? - (Another Scott) - (1)
                         But I really like his attempt at nicknaming Mz Rometty "Ginni the Eagle". - (CRConrad)
                     If the feds required davis bacon on IT projects their ass would be in the graveyard - (boxley) - (1)
                         "Government is in luv with both" -- does that mean they both suck equally? -NT - (CRConrad)

Yes, it is! No, it isn't!
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