The effective handling and analysis of vast amounts of data increasingly can improve the safety and comfort of air travel for people ranging from executives streaking through the skies on business to fighter pilots working in combat zones.
On Thursday, the Boeing Co., a Chicago aeronautics giant that works in both the commercial and defense sides of the business, disclosed plans to invest $7.5 million over the next three years in a joint venture with Carnegie Mellon University to harness the potential of artificial intelligence and so-called Big data.
The Boeing/Carnegie Mellon Aerospace Data Analytics Lab will use CMU's capabilities in machine learning, language technologies and data analytics, officials said in making the announcement on campus. Boeing said its initial investment in the endeavor could grow over time.
The lab and knowledge it spawns could be useful across the aerospace and defense company — from improving commercial aircraft design, maintenance and safety to enhancing performance of military equipment, said Ted Colbert, Boeing's chief information officer.
”More than likely, when you get on an airplane in this country, you’re on one of our planes, and so what has happened over the last several years is our ability (has increased) to have much better insights about how the plane works, about how we need to serve the plane,“ he said.
”Over time, we will be able to improve the overall performance of the plane . . . and the customer experience.“
He offered the example that data generated from aircraft usage might help improve maintenance scheduling.
Mr. Colbert said the lab is an outgrowth in part of an existing relationship between his company and the university.
A range of CMU and Boeing representatives attended the mid-morning announcement inside the university's Gates Center, including provost Farnam Jahanian, as well as faculty and administrators in the school of computer science.
Jaime Carbonell, computer science professor and director of the Language Technologies Institute, will head the research endeavor.
”The mass of data generated daily by the aerospace industry overwhelms human understanding,“ Mr. Carbonell said in a statement, ”but recent advances in language technologies and machine learning give us every reason to expect that we can gain useful insights from that data.“
The new lab is expected to draw on the efforts of 20 faculty and graduate students.
Bill Schackner: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1977 and on Twitter: @Bschackner PG.