Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List


Predicting how systems will behave

Showing 17 results for Forecasting RSS
Novel methods, tools, and approaches to better understand social systems and dynamics in a national security context
The Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is on the move. Spread among humans by mosquitoes, and spread across geographic boundaries by humans who travel, the virus—which causes a debilitating illness—is now expanding through the Western Hemisphere. Governments and health organizations could take proactive steps to limit its spread if they had accurate forecasts of where and when it would appear. DARPA’s CHIKV Challenge asks teams to create models to deliver such forecasts for all of the countries and territories in the Americas and the Caribbean over a six-month period starting in September 2014.
Today—October 21, 2015—is famous in popular culture as the date 30 years in the future when Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrive in their time-traveling DeLorean in the movie “Back to the Future Part II.” The film got some things right about 2015, including in-home videoconferencing and devices that recognize people by their voices and fingerprints. But it also predicted trunk-sized fusion reactors, hoverboards and flying cars—game-changing technologies that, despite the advances we’ve seen in so many fields over the past three decades, still exist only in our imaginations.
Imagine the workplace during flu season. Some people get sick and display clear symptoms—a warning sign to coworkers to avoid contact and for that individual to stay home. Others are infected, but never or only belatedly exhibit the tell-tale signs of sickness, meaning they can infect coworkers without knowing it. If healthcare professionals had the ability to test in advance whether a person is likely to spread a disease following infection, they could recommend specific measures to treat the person or limit exposure and perhaps keep an outbreak from growing into an epidemic or pandemic.
The social sciences can play important roles in assisting military planners and decision-makers who are trying to understand complex human social behaviors and systems, potentially facilitating a wide range of missions including humanitarian, stability, and counter-insurgency operations. Current social science approaches to studying behavior rely on a variety of modeling methods—both qualitative and quantitative—which seek to make inferences about the causes of social phenomena on the basis of observations in the real-world.