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.

DARPA's Oceans of Things program seeks to enable persistent maritime situational awareness over large ocean areas by deploying thousands of small, low-cost floats that form a distributed sensor network. Each smart float contains a suite of commercially available sensors to collect environmental data-such as sea surface temperature, sea state, and location - as well as activity data about commercial vessels, aircraft, and even maritime mammals moving through the area. The floats transmit data periodically via satellite to a cloud network for storage and real-time analysis. More
DARPA’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program envisions future small-unit infantry forces using swarms comprising upwards of 250 small unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) and/or small unmanned ground systems (UGSs) to accomplish diverse missions in complex urban environments. By leveraging and combining emerging technologies in swarm autonomy and human-swarm teaming, the program seeks to enable rapid development and deployment of breakthrough capabilities. More
5G is the latest in a series of evolutions in public mobile networking, with widespread coverage and access on a subscription basis. 5G networks are characterized by improved capabilities across a variety of measures, including throughputs, latencies, numbers of devices, and battery life. 5G is used to attach small special purpose devices comprising the Internet of Things (IoT) to the Internet, and the important and growing number of services provided by the World Wide Web. More
The goal of the Operational Fires (OpFires) program is to develop and demonstrate a novel ground-launched system enabling hypersonic boost glide weapons to penetrate modern enemy air defenses and rapidly and precisely engage critical time sensitive targets. More
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The Optimization with Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum devices (ONISQ) program aims to exploit quantum information processing before fully fault-tolerant quantum computers are realized. This effort will pursue a hybrid concept that combines intermediate-sized quantum devices with classical systems to solve a particularly challenging set of problems known as combinatorial optimization. ONISQ seeks to demonstrate the quantitative advantage of quantum information processing by leapfrogging the performance of classical-only systems in solving optimization challenges. More
Panacea is a fundamental research program designed to provide novel, multi-target therapeutics that address under-met physiological needs of Department of Defense operators. To do so, the program is applying a systems-pharmacology approach to address the intrinsic complexity of biological processes and unlock more of the potential drug target space in the human proteome. If it succeeds, it will yield new drugs that address some of the challenging physical demands faced by warfighters, including metabolic stress — as with prolonged exertion at high altitude — and activity-related soft tissue injury and resultant pain and inflammation. More
The Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) program aims to support military readiness and global stability through pursuit of novel methods to dramatically accelerate discovery, integration, pre-clinical testing, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures against infectious diseases. P3 confronts the reality that Department of Defense (DoD) personnel are not only deployed around the world for routine operations, but are often among the first responders to outbreaks of emerging or re-emerging disease with pandemic potential (e.g., Ebola). P3 aims specifically to develop a scalable, adaptable, rapid response platform capable of producing relevant numbers of doses against any known or previously unknown infectious threat within 60 days of identification of such a threat in order to keep the outbreak from escalating and decrease disruptions to the military and homeland. More
The Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS) program aims to leverage biology to augment the Department of Defense’s existing, hardware-based maritime monitoring capabilities. The program will tap into marine organisms’ innate abilities to sense and respond to perturbations in their environments and apply those abilities to the detection, characterization, and reporting of manned or unmanned underwater vehicles ranging from small autonomous vessels to large nuclear submarines. More