Boardroom Insight

Consulting Sector News and Trends

BCG inks generative AI consulting contract with NASA

This article was written by a human. Here’s how to tell.

Boston Consulting Group has nabbed a high-profile deal with NASA to build a generative AI lab for the space agency’s Ames Research Center.

The deal is a significant win for BCG. The firm is already one of the, if not the, biggest name in the management consulting space, but new customer case studies are always useful for brand awareness. That’s doubly true when the case study is with a client as prominent as NASA and focuses on the most buzzed-about technology in enterprise IT: AI.

The project has one other participant besides BCG and NASA: the Universities Space Research Association. This is a group of more than 100 academic institutions focused on advanced space research, often through projects carried out in collaboration with NASA.

The decision to have the space agency’s Ames Research Center play a lead role in the AI tie-up with BCG is not an unexpected choice. The center, which is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, leads the agency’s AI efforts. It’s also active in other parts of the technology landscape: Ames hosts much of NASA’s supercomputing infrastructure and helps run a core component of the DNS traffic routing system that underpins the worldwide web.

BCG says its work with NASA will be led by its BCG X unit, which focuses on providing IT services to clients. The practice has about 3,000 employees in dozens of cities worldwide.

The management consultancy said that the collaboration will focus on the “research, development, testing, and evaluation of GenAI technologies.” That the effort includes a research component suggests the participants don’t plan to merely explore the potential applications of AI to their work, but develop entirely new AI software. That software might include custom AI models.

The initiative will place an emphasis on finding ways AI can advance metrology and other fields that fall under Earth sciences umbrella. According to BCG, the project participants will explore both short- and long-term applications of machine learning. They also plan to publish research papers about their work, particularly their findings on “evaluation criteria for different scenarios, use cases, and test cases as applied to the performance of various publicly available open-source GenAI models.” In other words, the goal is to develop workflows that will allow NASA to reliably evaluate how open-source AI models can be applied to its work.

BCG CEO Christoph Schweizer commented that “we have only just begun to explore the transformative power of GenAI in Earth sciences. “BCG is privileged to work with NASA and USRA. Together, we are pioneering the critical research and development necessary to propel these technologies forward, ultimately benefiting global society.”