Surpassing The Limits

AJ Abdallat
AJ Abdallat, CEO

Beyond Limits


“Our AI can work with unexplained or missing data and figure out hypothetical scenarios and fill in the missing pieces—much like humans with experience do.”

An AI company called Beyond Limits took an impression from space exploration and transformed it into a fascinating new self-training AI. This new AI, which is already being applied in finance, healthcare, and petrochemical industries, describes an impressive breakthrough for certain AI implementations that need high autonomy levels.

Beyond Limits is an innovative Artificial Intelligence engineering business creating advanced software systems that go beyond traditional AI. Founded in 2014, Beyond Limits supports companies to solve severe, complex, mission-critical problems and modify their business. The company applies a different hybrid approach to AI, combining numeric AI techniques like machine learning with knowledge-based argumentation to produce actionable intelligence. The result is more agile, better decisions that reduce risk, decrease waste, and enhance efficiency.

Their differentiator is that their AI’s decisions can be reviewed, and the AI itself can be edited at a granular level, so improvements generally don’t require retraining. Granted, this path – mainly if it was being used for commercial aircraft or self-driving cars – should have a high demand for substantial simulation before deployment. This could cut times off what would typically be needed for a complex AI development plan, but would also allow for a level of customization at a scale we don’t presently seem to have in this space.

During development or post-deployment, they recognize a problem and forensically audit the AI to determine the cause. Utilizing the forensic data, they craft a fix, then implement the patch and test it to assure the result. There’s another likely paradigm here: to see if you could contain this process so the AI could reliably determine itself. That’s part of what makes this platform attractive, and it comes from the company’s origins.

Built to cross Limits

Beyond Limits developed out of work with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for remote rovers to explore areas like the moon and Mars. Due to the communications delay in space, real-time control is virtually impossible. Any AI solution must be not only wholly autonomous; it must be able to reach and, ideally, correct itself. When there is a challenge, it can’t correct, the bandwidth limitations for communication make full reprogramming problematic, but point patches are undoubtedly possible.

This led to an AI platform uniquely able to be updated, modified, and, to a particular and initially limited reach, able to both teach itself and make corrections while disconnected. This particular requirement likely has made the resulting AI nearly ideal for areas where the AI must often act independently of oversight – and in areas where problems can escalate very fast– and the AI must be able to both work with a diversity of known and unknown problems.

Although still its infancy, Beyond Limits displays a new class of AI. It’s better enabled to operate completely autonomously, it can both learn on the fly and increasingly make corrections to its programming. It may eventually include emulation as a characteristic so that it can more safely self-train.

Beyond Limits CEO AJ Abdallat says, “2020 is going to be a big year for Beyond Limits. We make important strides toward global expansion to serve the energy sector and a variety of other sectors. We believe Beyond Limits’ innovative and different AI technologies will be a key component in reimagining and modernizing the energy sector- through advanced digitization, we can create more intelligent, more productive operations for a lower carbon future.”

Beyond Limits serves industrial clients with Cognitive AI systems designed to apply human-like methodology and reasoning to solve complex problems and provide cognitive and analytical horsepower that accelerates executive and operator decision-making. For instance, in the energy sector, Beyond Limits is deploying new products for managing upstream wells, refinery optimization, assisting petroleum engineers in formulating lubricants products, and advising reservoir engineers on optimized well locations and in-fill well production rate forecast. Beyond Limits’ operations utilize a hybrid approach that blends conventional machine learning and deep learning approaches with knowledge-based reasoning. The company has generated powerful Cognitive AI engines that leverage encoded expert knowledge and expertise to provide clear, understandable solutions to critical challenges facing heavy industries. Unlike most “black box” AI systems, Beyond Limits has pioneered “glass box” Explainable AI that yields suggestions that can be understood by people and interpreted by machines.

NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense trust Beyond Limit’s AI program. NASA utilized the software for optimization on Mars missions and diagnostics of its deep space network. The company asserts its AI is faster than any other option on the market because it has been “battle-tested in deep space where there are zero margins for error.”

“Our AI can work with unexplained or missing data and figure out hypothetical scenarios and fill in the missing pieces—much like humans with experience do,” says Abdallat.

AI for Various Industries

The company will be receiving funding from BP Ventures that is anticipated to contribute to the onboarding of cognitive and data scientists and software engineers, which will help the company’s AI software transition to earthly matters. Abdallat also shares that more sales staff will be put in place to keep up with the rising demand in the oil and gas marketplace. As the oil and gas sector—and the price of crude oil in particular—continues to be unstable, AI brings enhanced predictive technology and efficiency to mining operations. It also means that companies can attain new levels of production without rising the costs up.

“Our strategic cooperation with Beyond Limits is a perfect fit for BP’s vision of using digital technology to transform our organization. We believe artificial intelligence will be one of the most important digital technologies to drive new performance levels across the industry,” Morag Watson, Chief Digital Innovation Officer at BP, shared. By offering process automation, optimization from a business standpoint, and a different lens aimed at operational insight, Beyond Limits can genuinely evolve the way the oil and gas industry works. The oil industry had been sluggish at best in adapting to digital technology. BP’s Director of Exploration and Production Business, Bernard Looney, knows this but is optimistic about BP’s ability to catch up. “We are now making up for lost time—fast,” he said. “Big data is revolutionizing big oil.”

“Our technology benefits sectors where there are many people managing complex operations, especially where there are well-defined operational procedures and best practices,” Abdallat shares. “Our cognitive computing helps to improve decision velocity, decision quality, detects the unknown, and digitally assists with knowledge transfer from experts to other personnel.” They have appointed Dr. Manikanda Arunachalam, a Cardiologist and Venture Capital specialist, as its Senior Vice President for Corporate Development and Investments. The doctor will guide the company through expansion into the health tech area, bringing truly cognitive AI solutions to the sector through its Life Sciences platform.

“Beyond Limits’ Life Sciences platform presents a transformative value proposition to different healthcare industry stakeholders that could improve clinical outcomes, reduce costs, and build sustainable business models,” states Dr. Arunachalam. “[It] will be an ideal partner for health systems, CRO’s, care plans, genomics firms, and many other providers in digital health and the healthcare Internet of Things.”

One of the most significant areas we see AI contributing to the healthcare market is via security. Patient privacy is very important, and AI’s ability to look at multiple network data points simultaneously will allow it to take immediate action on hacking threats, minimizing the impact. For Beyond Life Sciences—Beyond Limit’s healthcare sector of the company—AI software could support doctors come up with personalized treatment plans after gathering and analyzing data objects from throughout a patient’s medical records and history. IBM’s Watson, the only simply recognizable AI in healthcare right now, is already supporting oncologists treat cancer. Beyond data security, patient care, and even the automation of medical devices, Beyond Limits is looking to influence the space significantly.

This is not the end of where Beyond Limits can make its impact. The company’s leaders are presently establishing the foundation for the organization to contribute to areas like energy, finance, manufacturing, and logistics and transport. Beyond Limits has already performed out-of-this-world capabilities—literally. “Traveling space is about being able to handle the unknown,” shares Abdallat. “Real-world industrial-grade AI will need to do the same to become commercially viable at scale in critical industries truly.”