Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Information Processing

Computational tools and techniques for manipulating and analyzing data

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I2O explores game-changing technologies in the fields of information science and software to anticipate and create rapid shifts in the complex national security landscape. Conflict can occur in traditional domains such as land, sea, air, and space, and in emerging domains such as cyber and other types of irregular warfare. I2O’s research portfolio is focused on anticipating new modes of warfare in these emerging areas and developing the concepts and tools necessary to provide decisive advantage for the U.S. and its allies.
Modern society depends on information and information depends on information systems. Timely, insightful, reliable, and relevant information drives success. This is not lost on military leaders who well appreciate the critical importance of information for national security. As Sir Francis Bacon wrote in 1597, “Knowledge is power.”

DARPA established its High-Productivity Computing Systems (HPCS) program, with a goal of revitalizing supercomputer research and markets, and incubating a new breed of fast, efficient, easier-to-use and affordable machines. DARPA made initial grants to five key players: IBM, Cray, Hewlett-Packard, Silicon Graphics, and Sun Microsystems.


DARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) was born in 1962 and for nearly 50 years was responsible for DARPA’s information technology programs. IPTO did not itself perform research, but rather invested in breakthrough technologies and seminal research projects that led to significant developments in computer hardware and software.

The inherent goodness of miniaturizing electronics has been key to a wide array of technology innovations and an important economic driver for several decades. For example, the seemingly endless shrinking of the transistor has allowed the semiconductor industry to place ever more devices on the same amount of silicon. Each time the size shrunk, transistors became faster and used less power, allowing increasingly capable electronics in smaller packages that cost less. In recent years, power requirements, excessive heat and other problems associated with physical limitations have reduced the advantages of continuing to shrink size.