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2019 Government Innovation Awards

The Air Force's search engine for emerging tech solutions

Riley Repko serves in many roles, including strategic adviser to the Air Force secretary and chief of staff on innovation and modernization issues and the service’s senior adviser to the Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. But he’s also known for being decades ahead of the current technology.

AI: Collaboration Accelerator Framework for Execution

U.S. Air Force

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He was instrumental is launching the AI Collaboration Accelerator Framework for Execution, which is a bit like Google combined with Yelp for Air Force AI solutions. When an airman needs to understand what technology solutions exist, AI CAFE taps a global, AI-fueled database and uses machine learning algorithms to identify risks and investments in emerging technology — effectively linking a problem with possible solutions in the private and public sectors.

AI CAFE, which is an evolution of a concept Repko has been percolating for almost two decades, helps users and organizations determine their readiness for AI solutions and how the applications work, while facilitating market research.

“The tech caught up to Riley’s brain,” quipped Jamie Dos Santos, chairman of the board at Cybraics.

Repko’s vision was to deliver a solution that can provide the best options, and he was driven by the belief that no single entity has all the answers, Dos Santos added. And Repko received funding, built an architecture and turned out a minimally viable product in 90 days.

It’s information sharing at its finest because it gives contracting officers the ability to align contract needs with nontraditional companies and experts, Dos Santos said.

“We all need this information at our fingertips to fight current and ever-evolving threats,” she added. “It’s not just good for the problem-solver — it’s good for the universities, the students, military research and development, and private-sector efforts. Everybody learns from that.”

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