Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyOur Research

Our Research

DARPA’s investment strategy begins with a portfolio approach. Reaching for outsized impact means taking on risk, and high risk in pursuit of high payoff is a hallmark of DARPA’s programs. We pursue our objectives through hundreds of programs. By design, programs are finite in duration while creating lasting revolutionary change. They address a wide range of technology opportunities and national security challenges. This assures that while individual efforts might fail—a natural consequence of taking on risk—the total portfolio delivers. More

For reference, past DARPA research programs can be viewed in the Past Programs Archive.

Modern networks and platforms rely on access to the radio frequency (RF) spectrum for communications, radar sensing, command and control, time transfer, and geo-location. Electromagnetic interference, due to congestion in the spectrum or malicious jamming, can have catastrophic effects. Countering such interference is particularly important for unmanned platforms. To address this challenge, the Hyper-wideband Enabled RF Messaging (HERMES) program seeks to provide an assured link for essential communications by developing a jammer- countering capability that is orders of magnitude beyond the state-of-the-art. More
Systems that operate at hypersonic speeds—five times the speed of sound (Mach 5) and beyond—offer the potential for military operations from longer ranges with shorter response times and enhanced effectiveness compared to current military systems. Such systems could provide significant payoff for future U.S. offensive strike operations, particularly as adversaries’ capabilities advance. More
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ITA3 will determine the practical and fundamental limits to imaging using low frequency electromagnetic waves. More
The proliferation of low cost, highly sophisticated commercial technology and the global access to knowledge about how to construct and apply these systems has narrowed the divide and placed sophisticated systems and capabilities in the hands of hobbyists across the world. The DARPA Improv program investigated the threat posed by commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) devices. More
The Insect Allies program is pursuing scalable, readily deployable, and generalizable countermeasures against potential natural and engineered threats to the food supply with the goals of preserving the U.S. crop system. National security can be quickly jeopardized by naturally occurring threats to the crop system, including pathogens, drought, flooding, and frost, but especially by threats introduced by state or non-state actors. Insect Allies seeks to mitigate the impact of these incursions by applying targeted therapies to mature plants with effects that are expressed at relevant timescales—namely, within a single growing season. More
Next-generation intelligent systems supporting Department of Defense (DoD) applications like artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, shared spectrum communication, electronic warfare, and radar require processing efficiency that is orders of magnitude beyond what is available through current commercial electronics. Reaching the performance levels required by these DoD applications however will require developing highly complex system-on-chip (SoC) platforms that leverage the most advanced integrated circuit technologies. More
The Intelligent Neural Interfaces (INI) program seeks to establish “Third-Wave” artificial intelligence methods to improve and expand the application space of next-generation neurotechnology. More
Managing complexity is a central problem in software engineering. A common approach to address this challenge is concretization, in which a software engineer makes decisions based on a set of apparently or almost equivalent options to enable the resulting code to compile. Concretization makes the process of software development more controllable, allowing the engineer to define and implement an architecture, divide the development tasks into manageable parts, establish conventions to enable their integration, and integrate them into a cohesive software system. More