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.

Viral pathogens pose a continuous and shifting biological threat to military readiness and national security overall in the form of infectious disease with pandemic potential. Today’s limited vaccines and other antivirals are often circumvented by quickly mutating viruses that evolve to develop resistance to treatments that are carefully formulated to act only specific strains of a virus. More
Autonomous and semi-autonomous systems need active illumination to navigate at night or underground. Switching on visible headlights or some other emitting system like lidar, however, has a significant drawback: It allows adversaries to detect a vehicle’s presence, in some cases from long distances away. More
Due to engineering limitations and cost constraints, the dynamics of the electronic industry are continually changing. Commercial companies increasingly recognize the need to differentiate their products through research in areas other than device scaling, such as new circuit architectures and computing algorithms. More
Rapid comprehension of world events is essential for informing U.S. national security - a task that becomes more difficult as the amount of unstructured, multimedia information grows exponentially. Humans make sense of events by organizing them into narrative structures that occur frequently. These structures are abstracted into schemas, which are organized units of knowledge that represent a pattern of memory used in human cognition. More
The Lagrange program seeks to develop new mathematical approaches to optimization problems in uncertain, dynamic, multiscale, and high-dimensional settings. By bridging methodologies developed for both discrete and continuous optimizations, Lagrange aims to enable solutions for complex, realistic problems that involve dynamic environments, rapidly changing requirements, and increasing or decreasing amounts of information. More
Lasers have made a tremendous impact on our world – they are essential to diverse fields such as optical communications, remote sensing, manufacturing, and medicine. At the same time, photonic integrated circuits have allowed unprecedented advances in optical systems for Department of Defense (DoD) applications, including LiDAR, signal processing, chip-scale optical clocks, gyros, and data transmission. However, these two technologies today are limited by the incompatibility of the materials used to create them – silicon photonics are easy to manufacture but are poor light emitters while compound semiconductors enable efficient emitters but are difficult to scale for complex integrated circuits. More
In supervised machine learning (ML), the ML system learns by example to recognize things, such as objects in images or speech. Humans provide these examples to ML systems during their training in the form of labeled data. With enough labeled data, we can generally build accurate pattern recognition models. More
LADS will develop a new protection paradigm that separates security-monitoring functionality from the protected system, focusing on low-resource, embedded and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The program will explore technologies to associate the running state of a device with its involuntary analog emissions across different physical modalities including, but not limited to, electromagnetic emissions, acoustic emanations, power fluctuations and thermal output variations. More