Deakin Uni, Ytek kick off machine learning algorithm research for simulation training

The project is part of the CSIRO's Science and Industry Endowment Fund STEM+ Business Fellowship grant program for small and medium businesses.

Work on a new project by Deakin University and Melbourne-based software company Ytek has begun, aimed to develop skills of those training in the emergency response, defence, and aerospace sectors using machine learning algorithms.

Dr James Zhang, a researcher from Deakin University's Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation, is working with Ytek to develop simulation solutions used to train surgeons, emergency workers, soldiers, and pilots.

As part of the project, Zhang and Ytek will research how machine learning algorithms can help monitor and evaluate a trainee's conduct in mission-critical simulations by using sensors on training tools, such as manikins, to evaluate how trainers can assess students in practical training.

Ytek CEO Richard Yanieri said the desired outcome of the project is to improve the practical training for students.

"We've been working with Deakin's School of Medicine to understand their needs so that we can tailor a solution that works for this industry," he said.

The project is part of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organisations' (CSIRO) Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) STEM+ Business Fellowship grant program for small and medium businesses. CSIRO said the aim of the program is to link SMEs with researchers to develop their products and capabilities.

According to the CSIRO, the program is set to place over 35 researchers in businesses over the next five years, with expectations it will have the capacity to deliver AU$24 million of research projects within the local SME sector.

Research by Microsoft previously indicated SMEs are the drivers that will keep Australia globally competitive, with the potential of injecting AU$6 million into the Australian economy.

The Australian government has been assisting Australian entrepreneurs in bringing their ideas to market through its AU$11 million landing pad initiative, which forms part of the government's AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

As part of the initiative, the Australian government has so far announced landing pad sites in Berlin, Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, and Shanghai. Each of the four landing pads will have its own locally engaged coordinator who the government said will bring their unique knowledge and experience to the table to help market-ready startups gain access to local partners with expertise, infrastructure, and innovation, as well as marketing networks.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also promised prior to the federal election that if re-elected an additional AU$15 million was going to be invested to help support Australian startups through the expansion of the existing Incubator Support program, which was given AU$8 million as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

According to the prime minister, the new investment will increase the number of startup incubators and accelerators in Australia; support the expansion of existing high-performing incubators and accelerators; attract "experts in residence" to provide specialist advice to startup businesses; and enable new and existing incubators and accelerators to access up to AU$500,000 in funding.

"Australia's existing network of incubators and accelerators is falling well short of meeting the current level of demand," Turnbull said. "Incubators and accelerators assist startups with new business networks and expert advice, helping them access new sources of funding and bring innovative ideas to market sooner."