January 25

Executive Spotlight: Ro Dhanda, VP of Public Sector with H2O.ai


Ro Dhanda, vice president of Public Sector with H2O.ai, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz for the publication’s latest Executive Spotlight interview detailing the latest lessons the company has learned in artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.

In addition, Dhanda also discussed H2O’s Open Source and Driverless AI platform, trustworthiness in AI as well as the top priorities and growth goals for H2O.ai, and more.

“Artificial intelligence has only begun to drive breakthroughs in automation and decision-making across federal agencies and the citizens whom they serve. By enabling agencies to make better decisions, streamline operations, and reduce risk, Al can have significant impact across departments in areas such as fraud, waste and abuse, supply chain, cybersecurity and mission specific objectives.”

You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Ro Dhanda below:

ExecutiveBiz: Since joining H20.ai back in June, what are the greatest strides that you’ve seen in artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities for your customers since you joined the company? What have been the top areas of growth for H20.ai since last June?

Ro Dhanda: “We have learned that artificial intelligence is an essential component of agency modernization. AI Models can be leveraged to improve efficiencies such as cost control and predicting maintenance needs. It can be used to make data more actionable, to help improve responsiveness to constituents, and assist in making real time decisions for better situational awareness.

AI Models can also be used to increase accountability such as mission effectiveness, taxpayer benefit, identifying fraud/waste and abuse as well providing oversight and compliance to regulations.

In addition, there is a vast reservoir of untapped insights in electronic documents, document images, emails, forms, claims, applications and invoices – agencies want to understand, process, manage and gain insight to this unstructured data.

Agencies are clearly using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to make sense of their data to create more informed decisions.

Two advancements in AI that are within our platform and that agencies should be aware of:

Advances in machine learning interpretability – understanding more complex models – methods to address interpretability and bias detection and advancements in visualizing and explaining model performance.

Increased operational transparency and oversight of machine learning models – machine learning operations (MLOps) has made it easier to monitor performance – automatically detecting changes in important elements like data drift and feature importance – essentially catching any degradation or anomalies in performance as they happen in real time.

Also, the ability to automatically create documentation means government organizations have a systematic way to capture how models are built to provide governance into processes, testing, customizations, and adherence to agency protocols.

Because of the size of the potential addressable market, the number of use cases and workloads, and most importantly customer needs, the top area of growth for H2O.ai is Public Sector. Although the company was founded in 2012, it wasn’t until our team’s arrival that H2O.ai had fully invested in building a go to market strategy.

We have been pleasantly surprised that many agencies and federal system integrators are well aware of our Open Source platform and we will continue to build our business on that familiarity, trust, and the positive ratings we are getting from the analyst community. We are engaged in several pilots and are identifying more and more use cases.”

ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about H2O’s Open Source and Driverless AI platforms and their benefit to create a “culture of makers,” work to decentralize AI capabilities and drive the importance of leveraging data as a growth and strategic asset for federal agencies’ missions?

Ro Dhanda: “Our goal is to get artificial intelligence capabilities into the hands of operators and analysts and believe that if agencies can execute a democratized artificial intelligence strategy that they will achieve mission outcomes faster, better, and smarter.

Our tools empower data scientist teams to develop machine learning models quickly, accurately, and responsibly and make those capabilities available to their organizations.

Artificial intelligence has only begun to drive breakthroughs in automation and decision-making across federal agencies and the citizens whom they serve. By enabling agencies to make better decisions, streamline operations, and reduce risk, Al can have significant impact across departments in areas such as fraud, waste and abuse, supply chain, cybersecurity and mission specific objectives.

We believe agencies should consider executing on four strategic approaches to ensure that the adoption of AI tools will expand its positive effects on mission outcomes.

  • Make machine learning models and AI applications that are accessible, accurate, and fast
  • Operate AI applications with agility and confidence
  • Innovate with an enterprise AI platform that will enable a broad set of personnel to build and use AI solutions
  • Create and manage a Responsible AI program so that AI results can be explained, understood, and trusted

Our Open Source H203 platform is highly respected and even used by our competitors in the AI/Data Science space. H2O.ai built AI to do AI. With industry leading automated machine learning (autoML), Driverless AI has been wrapped into the H2O AI Hybrid Cloud which gives users more accuracy, speed and transparency throughout the entire machine learning lifecycle, including in the development and deployment of AI applications. It includes Feature Transformation, Machine Learning, Explainable AI all within a low code application development framework.

H2O.ai provides a comprehensive suite of capabilities surrounding machine learning operations that support data scientists and machine learning engineers in the deployment, management and monitoring of their models in production.

Additionally, the H2O AI Hybrid Cloud provides an incredibly flexible architecture with distributed processing, optimized compute efficiency and the ability to deploy in the environment of your choice. Customization is well supported with easy integration of your own transformers, recipes and models.

The merging of our powerful machine learning models and operational capabilities with intuitive experiences that users of all technical abilities can consume enables our clients to adopt AI more easily and often.

The H2O AI Hybrid Cloud provides an AI AppStore designed to simplify the delivery and consumption of complex solutions, meaning more people can access and participate in innovation efforts – hence the democratization of AI.”

ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on being featured in Carahsoft’s Innovation in Government Report for Data-Driven Government AI. What can you tell us about the report’s biggest insights and takeaways? What can you say about trustworthiness and using AI tech to develop algorithms and make predictions in the federal sector?

Ro Dhanda: “Agencies want the ability to understand how algorithms are making predictions to help build better models and provide explanations across a set of predictions or even at a more localized level of individual predictions.

In addition, they want to understand and address bias and fairness in algorithmic performance.  Case in point, The Department of Defense has created Ethical Standards for using Artificial Intelligence – including being responsible, equitable, traceable, reliable, secure, and governable.”

ExecutiveBiz: In the new year, what are your top priorities and growth goals for H2O.ai in 2022 and what are you hoping to achieve for your customers and federal agencies as we all work to implement and adapt to evolving AI capabilities in the coming year?

Ro Dhanda: “With our recent Series E Round of Funding, the company will be focused on Research and Product Development and building out our Sales, Marketing and Product Engineering teams.

I will be focused on hiring additional personnel to help support our growth in Federal and to establish entry into the State and Local market.

We will continue our efforts on building relevancy and providing thought leadership within the Public Sector and will continue to focus on agency needs and addressing how we can help them leverage AI for mission needs.

The company will continue to develop the tools and models that will help agencies make better, more informed decisions, speed up time to decision and reduce costs.”



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