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Sidestepping the Thin Data Problem in National Security


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connected dots in shape of human brain, illustration

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When a data set is too small to be used to make a decision, the solution is usually obvious: Get more data! That's the cry of analysts everywhere.

But a team of artificial intelligence researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is moving in another direction. Instead of fighting for more data, the team accepts the short supply of data and develops ways around the problem. The approach is paying off, leading to faster, more accurate conclusions.

The alternative approach is a necessity in national security, says Angie Sheffield, a senior program manager with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

"In national security, oftentimes there is not better data. There is not more data. We need new techniques to understand the data we do have, to extract more meaning from the information already in hand," Sheffield says.

From Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
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