DARPA Innovations Advance National Security
DARPA Innovations Advance
By Cheryl Pellerin, American
Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. – (AFPS)
– May 21, 2014 – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Information
Innovation Office, or I2O, is hosting DARPA Demo Day 2014 in the Pentagon’s
courtyard today to highlight the agency’s ongoing contributions to preserving
and expanding the Defense Department’s information technology superiority.
The DARPA’s Big Mechanism program aims
to leapfrog state-of-the-art big data analytics by developing automated
technologies -- illustrated by this information flow chart -- to help explain
the causes and effects that drive complicated systems such as diseases like
The Pentagon event has a focus on information technology and
it showcases more than 100 projects that push for game-changing improvements to
national security. IT, according to DARPA, is a key enabler for DOD and has been
a focus area for DARPA since its establishment in 1958. “The information
revolution has been a huge boon to society,” I2O Director Daniel Kaufman said,
adding, “but our growing dependence on information networks also means that
information is today’s tactical and strategic high ground, increasingly targeted
by adversaries from everyday criminals to networked terrorists who would do our
nation mortal harm.”
Kaufman said I2O’s mission is to ensure the safety and
reliability of essential information technologies against challenges the nation
faces today and those in the future.
DARPA contributions include its development and prototyping
of technology for what is now the Internet.
The DOD currently enjoys IT superiority, according to a DARPA
press statement, but that superiority can’t be taken for granted.
The Pentagon event showcases an array of DARPA projects
designed, as DARPA officials describe it, to quickly and profoundly change the
way the nation addresses growing national security challenges posed by the
information revolution and by the increasing global availability of
sophisticated information technologies.
DOD officials, defense contractors and invited public-sector
innovators heard DARPA program managers and project principals describe their
progress toward game-changing advances in areas such as cybersecurity, networked
warfighter systems, language translation and decision support.
Together, according to the DARPA statement, the displays
pointed to a future in which networks will be increasingly resilient to natural
and human-launched threats. And in that future, lightning-fast detection of
emergent, information-related irregularities, including potential threats, will
inform equally fast correctives and countermeasures.
Advanced data analysis, automation and fusion technologies
will enable the timely extraction of actionable, previously inaccessible
insights from mountains of raw information, DARPA says, and enable sharing those
insights through cutting-edge collaboration, data visualization and
The event highlighted 29 programs in four categories. Cyber
includes approaches to maintaining IT systems safety and security. Big Data
includes tools to facilitate the use of information at scale.
Language includes translation technologies to help
warfighters communicate more effectively in foreign-language environments. And
warfighter apps, which include other initiatives of great interest to DOD, such
as the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program in DARPA’s new Biological
Among the I2O programs on display were the following:
-- DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge, CGC: To be launched this summer, CGC will be the
first-ever tournament for testing fully automatic network defense systems. The
competition’s goal is to vastly improve the speed, scale and effectiveness of IT
security against escalating cyber threats.
-- High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems, HACMS: Seeks to protect networked,
embedded IT systems from cyberattack by creating semi-automated systems that
build software according to formal methods and check that the created code is
secure and works as intended.
-- Big Mechanism: Aims to leapfrog state-of-the-art big-data analytics by
developing automated technologies to help explain causes and effects that drive
complicated systems. Initial efforts will focus on research relating to cancer
-- Memex: Seeks to develop next-generation search technologies and revolutionize
the discovery, organization and presentation of public-domain search results.
Initially, DARPA intends to develop Memex to address fighting human trafficking.
-- Broad Operational Language Translation, BOLT: Seeks to create new techniques
for automated translation and linguistic analysis that can be applied to
informal text and speech common in online and in-person communication.
At DARPA, Kaufman said, “we help make the tools of the
information revolution more powerful and useful, not just for those who ensure
our security but also for the people and nations they protect.”
(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinAFPS)
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