The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) recently founded an artificial intelligence (AI) community of interest (COI) for anyone in DHS with an “interest in the subject.”

The goal of the new community is to understand how DHS can use AI and machine learning (ML), what impact it can have on departmental operations, and who in the DHS community is interested in the new technologies. Patrick Carrick, chief scientist at DHS S&T, undertook creating the COI in large part because AI and ML can bring “a new class of solutions for improving homeland security operations,” according to a DHS S&T release.

“It seemed like there was increased opportunity to further leverage AI/ML for S&T and the Department given our needs to analyze vast datasets,” said Carrick.

Initially, Carrick and his team reached out to about 40 folks inside DHS for the first meeting of the COI. However, hundreds of people–from all across S&T and DHS–attended the first gathering in July, either in-person or virtually.

In a statement, S&T explained that this first gathering will serve as a “prototype” for the future of the COI, with the end goal of “sharing valuable AI/ML information and insights from around the department.” Additionally, the release mentioned that it might not stop at just one COI, and there was some discussion of sub-dividing into small mission-specific groups to enable a deeper dive into AI and ML.

“Not all AI/ML is relevant to everyone and what they’re doing,” Carrick said in a statement. “There is so much going on across so many different sectors. We want to make it so those with shared interests can go off and work on things together, then share their findings with the group and across the entire department.”

Carrick also hopes to start COIs for quantum computing and synthetic biology–two of the Federal government’s highest research and develop priorities–in the near future.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.