Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) collaborated with NSWC Corona, and NSWC Port Hueneme to build a data preprocessing tool that can be leveraged by the Department of Defense (DoD) as well as industry. Through the Technology Transfer (T2) program, the technology was a cornerstone of the PROPELS 2022 program, which led to several teams proposing commercial market opportunities during the Radius Indiana Pitch Competition. During the week of October 17, the first patent license on the technology was finalized.
Hubert Goodman, Director of HG Asean Invest (HGAI), licensed the tool. He says he saw value in licensing the data preprocessing tool after learning about it at PROPELS and talking with one of its inventors.
“Over the course of my career, I have personally spent significant time preprocessing data for analytics,” says Goodman. “I know that there is a market for data scientists and others working in analytics. HGAI intends to leverage the tool as a solution that can create value from raw data to enhance an organization’s capability with modern data. The tool can be used to automate data cleaning, explore and investigate data, design and transform data, produce information outputs.”
The NSWC Crane T2 Program patent portfolio includes more than three hundred patented technologies that are available for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and companies to license. The PROPELS accelerator was a program co-hosted by The Mill and NSWC Crane that guided participants through the process of building a business based on government intellectual property (IP). PROPELS participants were then invited to participate in the Radius Indiana Pitch Competition with their business ideas.
Annie Bullock-Yoder, an IP and T2 Specialist at NSWC Crane, says these programs can be leveraged to build economic impact.
“The PROPELS Tech Expo and Accelerator was a fantastic opportunity to introduce NSWC Crane’s intellectual property portfolio to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the local Hoosier Uplands! Technology Transfer is about making sure the resources within the lab are fully utilized and to find prospects for economic impact through partnering with industry and academia,” says Bullock-Yoder. “Creating collisions between unique inventions and great ideas is just the beginning, and we are excited to see it happening here right here in Indiana.”
NSWC Crane, NSWC Corona, and NSWC Port Hueneme collaborated to create the data preprocessing tool a few years ago. Taylor Cole, the Chief Technology Officer for NSWC Corona, says the Navy is transitioning to Data as a Service.
“What this means is improvement to data quality from the source will eventually minimize the current extreme cleaning and curation requirements,” says Cole. “But this transition will take time, and tools to benefit curation and cleaning will always have a critical place in our overall data strategy.”
Logan Hedge, a Task Manager for a Data Scientist Team at NSWC Crane, was one of the inventors for the IP. Hedge says a few Data Scientists from the Warfare Centers got together at a data science conference and found common ground.
“We noticed Navy data takes time to ‘clean’ in order to use it for artificial intelligence (AI), learn from the data, and use it,” says Hedge. “Working with teams at NSWC Corona and NSWC Port Hueneme, we realized these challenges could be automated.”
Data preprocessing, or ‘cleaning’ data, is the process of transforming raw data into an understandable or machine digestible format. This allows people to gain insights from the information once it is easier to work with, as well as enabling artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to use the data. Hedge says the text-based analysis tool saves the Navy a significant amount of time.
“Cleaning data can take data scientists up to eighty percent of our time,” says Hedge. “The average project savings of seven thousand dollars in labor costs. We want our smart folks focused on smart tasks. There are people who come to work for the Navy from academia or industry, and notice how ‘dirty’ the data is. Many times, Navy data wasn’t necessarily looked at as an asset and the databases created haven’t always been updated with more modern data philosophies. Today, the Navy thinks of data as part of the design process.”
Each Warfare Center leveraged internal Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) funding to work on the project.
Hedge says the tool itself is data agnostic and modular.
“Meaning it can work on any data set,” says Hedge. “It’s modular, lightweight, and works on standard government computers but could scale up to an enterprise system. We created a user-interface so that the person using it doesn’t have to know how to code. The tool helps people clean, analyze, and find trends in data. It can help you do AI, ML, and see how information is related to other topics. At the time we designed the tool, we couldn’t find all-in-one tools that did data cleaning and AI, weren’t expensive, and didn’t require in-depth knowledge base to use them.”
The technology was made available for commercialization through the PROPELS Accelerator launched earlier this year, where teams formed around the data preprocessing tool. Hedge says the Navy inventors have been available to participants to guide them through the tool.
“We ran preliminary data sets with those interested in the technology to make sure it was useful,” says Hedge. “This buys down risk for companies and helps us grow in perspective in how to run projects in the future. If a company wants to develop the technology further and collaborate on development, Navy inventors can help.”
NSWC Crane has an extensive and growing IP portfolio available for licensing and collaboration. To learn more about the inventions available, please visit: Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane Division | TechLink (techlinkcenter.org)
To learn more about technology transfer or how to partner with NSWC Corona, please contact CRNA_orta@navy.mil. To learn more about technology transfer or how to partner with NSWC Crane, please contact Crane_T2@navy.mil
About NSWC Corona NSWC Corona is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). NSWC Corona’s Mission is to provide transparency to warfighting readiness through data analytics and assessment, engineering the Fleet’s Live-Virtual-Constructive training environment, and assuring the accuracy of measurements.
About NSWC Crane NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s Warfighter.
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