Professors Nirmalya Roy, left, and Aryya Gangopadhyay. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

This post was adapted from a story was written by UMBC News staff that first appeared on

From surveillance tools to autonomous machines, countries around the world are ramping up their military artificial intelligence (AI) assets. Such robust technologies are necessary to protect the United States from surprise attacks, which occur these days not only on the ground, but also on the cloud.

Advancing AI-based autonomous systems for military use will be the goal for a team of UMBC researchers that has recently been awarded a $20-million subcontract. UMBC will partner with the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), and the DEVCOM Army Research Lab (ARL) on the $68-million, five-year endeavor, which ARL is funding. The goal is to strengthen army AI technology so it is able to meet the demands of today’s national defense.

“The question we’re trying to solve is: Can we design and develop tools, techniques, algorithms, software, and hardware that can work autonomously and make their own decisions, but also collectively, interfacing with human decision-makers?” says UMBC’s principal investigator Aryya Gangopadhyay, professor of information systems. “The landscape of war is changing, and we must build systems that can make human-like decisions in real-time and under real-world pressure.”

The project, AI and Autonomy for Multi-Agent Systems (ArtIAMAS), aims to advance science and technology around three core research areas: collaborative autonomy; harnessing the data revolution; and human-machine teaming. UMBC’s role in the project will center on the second and third research thrusts. 

More specifically, the UMBC team will develop solutions for AI-based networking, sensing, and edge computing — which brings data storage and computation closer to a location — for battlefield Internet of Things (IoT). This will allow them to deliver secure, effective, and resilient U.S. Army assets including AI systems related to search-and-rescue, surveillance, robots, and machinery, and augmenting humans in performing decision-making tasks. 

In addition to Gangopadhyay and Roy, the UMBC team also includes faculty from the Information Systems, CSEE, Mathematics and Statistics and Physics departments, including  Anupam JoshiTinoosh MohseninDmitri PerkinsSanjay PurushothamMaryam RahnemoonfarJianwu Wang, and Ting Zhu. The ArtIAMAS cooperative agreement is led by PI Derek Paley, director of UMD’s Maryland Robotics Center.

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