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Mike Molnar | Director |Office of Advanced Manufacturing

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Mike Molnar is the founding director of the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office, the interagency team responsible for the Manufacturing USA program.  Mike also leads the NIST Office of Advanced Manufacturing and serves as co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council, Subcommittee on Advanced Manufacturing – the team responsible for the National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing.  Prior to joining federal service in 2011 Mike had a successful industry career, including 25 years leading manufacturing and technology development at Cummins, a U.S. based global company that designs, manufactures, and distributes engines and power generation products.


Mike has had a breadth of experience in technology development, sustainable manufacturing, environmental policy, advanced manufacturing processes, flexible automation, precision metrology, quality systems, and capital management.  He earned a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and Masters in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, and an Executive MBA from the University of Notre Dame.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer, Certified Manufacturing Engineer, was elected Fellow of ASME and SME, and is a member of the Senior Executive Service. 


U.S. Leadership in Adoption of Artificial Intelligence in Advanced Manufacturing

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies promise to be the most powerful tools in generations for expanding knowledge, increasing prosperity, and enriching the human experience. The technologies will be the foundation of the innovation economy and a source of enormous power for countries that harness them. As AI moves from an elite niche science to a mainstream tool, engineering will be as important as scientific breakthroughs. Many of the most important real-world impacts will come from figuring out how to employ existing AI algorithms and systems, some more than a decade old. However, adoption of AI in manufacturing will require development of new AI tools and algorithms. The integration challenge is immense. Harnessing data, hardening, and packaging algorithms so they are ready for use in the field, and adapting AI software to legacy equipment and rigid organizations all require time, effort, and patience. Integrating AI often necessitates overcoming substantial organizational and cultural barriers, and it demands top-down leadership.


Manufacturing is important to global competitiveness because it impacts jobs, national security, energy and material consumption, climate change, environmental sustainability, and societal health and safety. Because advanced manufacturing operations depend on experience and knowhow, in addition to codified technical and scientific knowledge, the potential for using AI to enhance production by accessing the implicit knowledge incorporated in the industry’s extensive and rich data sources is high.


The U.S. R&D priorities for federal investment in AI and strategic importance of AI and machine learning in advanced manufacturing are summarized in several government reports. Given the complexity of the issues, the characteristics of the manufacturing industry, and the broadly scoped definition and spectrum of AI possibilities, a comprehensive symposium comprised of a series of three workshops was conducted under the auspices of the National Science and Technology Council, Subcommittee on Advanced Manufacturing.  A summary of findings of this symposium will be discussed with respect to manufacturing competitiveness and realizing resilient manufacturing ecosystems through AI. Furthermore, examples of current research  at NIST related to AI standards and implementation of AI in manufacturing will be provided.