A multidisciplinary team of researchers led by engineering faculty at the University of Florida, including FINS member Dr. James Fairbanks, hopes to build software that will bridge that gap, with the goal of providing valuable applications for defense readiness.

Working in partnership with the Topos Institute and the University of Colorado-Denver, UF researchers in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and College of Medicine will use a $5.8 million DARPA award to further their radical approach to scientific computing that applies category theory to mathematically model mathematics itself.

This novel modeling and simulation approach will lay the foundation for software that will potentially offer a pair of essential applications — space weather forecasting to protect satellite communications, and the hierarchical analysis and control of immunology and epidemics. Both areas are of vital interest to the science portfolio of DARPA, the research and development agency of the Department of Defense (DoD).

The project “Generalized Algebraic Techniques Advancing Scientific Discovery” within the Automating Scientific Knowledge Extraction and Modeling (ASKEM) program of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office will accelerate the development of the AlgebraicJulia (www.algebraicjulia.org) software ecosystem. To increase the impact of the federally funded research, all software for this three-and-a-half-year project will be developed and released as open-source software.

Two precursor DARPA projects in Dr. Fairbanks’ repertoire— Automating Scientific Knowledge Extraction (ASKE) and Directly Computable Models (CompMods) — were seedling AI initiatives that looked to secure short-term, high-yield research outcomes in scientific modeling and computational multi-physics. His work led to a DARPA Young Faculty Awards on Model Aware Scientific Computing and inspired him in 2019 to build artificially intelligent software with applications in the epidemiological modeling space. The ability to develop rapid prototypes and deliver results led to a DARPA Director’s Fellowship to support transitioning these technologies to the military and other DoD agencies.

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Originally published by the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering (HWCOE), September 7, 2022