SBIR Phase I: An Open Source Platform for Intelligent Virtual Assistants

Period of Performance: 07/01/2016 - 06/30/2017

$225K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Clinc, Inc
1940 Hedgenettle Ct. Array
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will arise from the development and release of the world's first open source Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA) platform. The platform will be made available to the world as open source software free of charge, and will be surrounded by a set of commercial offerings that include the deployment and customization of the software as well as software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings that will allow users of the platform to painlessly create and deploy IVAs. Beyond the commercial applications of IVA technology, the open source release of the platform will help foster a healthy, active open source community around the IVA technology, allowing it to be leveraged as a machine learning research platform and accelerating IVA adoption in important non-commercial settings such as non-profit education and improving technological access for the disabled. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will address the significant computer systems challenges involved in seamlessly orchestrating the massive amounts of computation among complex pipelines of algorithmic components required to power intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) technologies. The computation required to power IVAs is large enough that such software systems will likely run in large datacenter infrastructures comprised of complex ecosystems of different server types and accelerator platforms. This project will address these challenges by building a centralized software mechanism within the IVA platform for monitoring job execution to facilitate efficiently mapping sub-tasks within the IVA computation to the available hardware resources in the datacenter.