U.S. Air Force Explores Data Synthesis with Tonic

Chiara Colombi
Thursday, June 11, 2020

Marking a significant milestone in our startup’s timeline, we’re excited to announce that Tonic has won a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the U.S. Air Force to respond to its data synthesis and generation needs. Under the aegis of this award, we’re investigating how our platform can be adapted to generate synthetic chat data, representing an expansion of our capabilities into the field of Natural-Language Processing.

On its own, chat data synthesis and augmentation would be a game changer for efforts to integrate AI and ML into DoD workflows. But synthesizing chat logs is only half the proverbial battle. In order to fully achieve the utility and shareability the Air Force needs, the ideal approach would be capable of generating unclassified synthetic data. This would equip Air Force units with the data they need to work with low-side environments and third-party contractors without classification hurdles standing in the way or slowing down the development cycle.

In the words of Adam Kamor, our Head of Engineering who is leading the development effort, “This really is a win-win situation: a win for Tonic to have such an interesting use case with which to branch into NLP data generation, and a win for the Air Force to be able to shape an early-stage, commercially proven solution to fit their needs. Naturally, we envision these needs having counterparts in the Army, NGA, and throughout the DoD for future deployments.”


Tonic is currently in a Phase I contract, exploring where our platform is most urgently needed within the Air Force. Granted approval for the urgency identified, we will move forward to Phase II of the process.

Concurrent to and as a result of these efforts, we have also been tapped for the Air Force’s Covid-19 response in the scope of Combating the Spread. If selected, our platform will enable the government to de-identify, synthesize, and scale up sensitive data related to the outbreak for secure, compliant use in data analytics or in the development of software needed to better respond to the crisis (e.g. contact tracing apps).

With so much going on in the world today, we’re encouraged by this new potential to play a part in our country’s recovery. There’s much work to be done, and we’re glad to be contributing our tools in forging a safe and respectful path forward. Stay safe, everyone, and fight on!

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