Propagation of Delays in the National Airspace System Artificial Intelligence

The National Airspace System (NAS) is a large and complex system with thousands of interrelated components: administration, control centers, airports, airlines, aircraft, passengers, etc. The complexity of the NAS creates many difficulties in management and control. One of the most pressing problems is flight delay. Delay creates high cost to airlines, complaints from passengers, and difficulties for airport operations. As demand on the system increases, the delay problem becomes more and more prominent. For this reason, it is essential for the Federal Aviation Administration to understand the causes of delay and to find ways to reduce delay. Major contributing factors to delay are congestion at the origin airport, weather, increasing demand, and air traffic management (ATM) decisions such as the Ground Delay Programs (GDP). Delay is an inherently stochastic phenomenon. Even if all known causal factors could be accounted for, macro-level national airspace system (NAS) delays could not be predicted with certainty from micro-level aircraft information. This paper presents a stochastic model that uses Bayesian Networks (BNs) to model the relationships among different components of aircraft delay and the causal factors that affect delays. A case study on delays of departure flights from Chicago O'Hare international airport (ORD) to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) reveals how local and system level environmental and human-caused factors combine to affect components of delay, and how these components contribute to the final arrival delay at the destination airport.

Lie back and think of cybersecurity: IBM lets students loose on Watson


IBM is teaming up with eight North American universities to further tune its cognitive system to tackle cybersecurity problems. Watson for Cyber Security, a platform already in pre-beta, will be further trained in "learning the nuances of security research findings and discovering patterns and evidence of hidden cyber attacks and threats that could otherwise be missed". IBM will work with eight US universities from autumn onwards for a year in order to push forward the project. The universities selected are California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Pennsylvania State University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; New York University; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); the University of New Brunswick; the University of Ottawa; and the University of Waterloo. The project is ultimately designed to bridge the cyber-security skills gap, a perennial issue in the industry.

Marvin Minsky

Communications of the ACM

Marvin Minsky, an American scientist working in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) who co-founded vthe Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AI laboratory, wrote several books on AI and philosophy, and was honored with the ACM A.M. Turing Award, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 at the age of 88. Born in New York City, Minsky attended the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, the Bronx High School of Science, and Phillips Academy, before entering the U.S. Navy in 1944. After leaving the service, he attended Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1950. He then went to Princeton University, where he built the first randomly wired neural network learning machine, the Stochastic Neural Analog Reinforcement Calculator (SNARC), before earning his Ph.D in mathematics there in 1954. Doctorate in hand, Minsky was admitted to the group of Junior Fellows at Harvard, where he invented the confocal scanning microscope for thick, light-scattering specimens, decades in advance of the lasers and computer power needed to make it useful; today, it is in wide use in the biological sciences.

IBM Watson steps into real-world cybersecurity


IBM has launched the Watson for Cyber Security beta program to encourage companies to include Watson in their current security environments. Starting off with such organizations as California Polytechnic State University, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and University of Rochester Medical Center, the program will grow over the next few weeks to encompass 40 companies spanning industries like banking, travel, energy, automotive, health care, insurance, and education. For the past few months, IBM Security has been working with eight universities -- California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, Penn State, MIT, New York University, University of Maryland at Baltimore County, and Canada's universities of New Brunswick, Ottawa, and Waterloo -- to help teach Watson the "language of cybersecurity." The research project involved feeding Watson's AI brain thousands of documents annotated to help the system understand what a threat is, what it does, and what indicators are related. Watson for Cyber Security combines machine learning and natural language processing to make associations in unstructured data like blogs, research reports, and documentation that security analysts can then use to make better, faster decisions.

FAA drone testing program takes off in 10 cities


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is moving forward with its plans to accelerate drone testing in the US -- with help from technology companies including Alphabet, FedEx and Intel. The agency announced 10 states that will participate in the the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program, an effort that aims to study the potential uses of drones in agriculture, commerce, emergency management, and human transportation. The 10 pilot winners include the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, in Durant, Oklahoma; the City of San Diego, California; the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority, in Herndon, Virginia; the Kansas Department of Transportation; the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Fort Meyers, Florida; the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority; the North Carolina Department of Transportation; the North Dakota Department of Transportation; the City of Reno, Nevada; and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. First announced last October, the UAS program aims to partner the FAA with local, state and tribal governments, along with private sector technology companies, to explore the integration of drone operations across industries. The program will also address public safety and security risks that go along with bringing drones into the national airspace.