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.

The Artificial Intelligence Research Associate (AIRA) program is part of a broad DARPA initiative to develop and apply “Third Wave” AI technologies that are robust to sparse data and adversarial spoofing, and that incorporate domain-relevant knowledge through generative contextual and explanatory models. More
Humans intuitively combine pre-existing knowledge with observations and contextual clues to construct rich mental models of the world around them and use these models to evaluate goals, perform thought experiments, make predictions, and update their situational understanding. When the environment contains other people, humans use a skill called theory of mind (ToM) to infer their mental states from observed actions and context, and predict future actions from those inferred states. More
Autonomy refers to a system’s ability to accomplish goals independently, or with minimal supervision from human operators in environments that are complex and unpredictable. Autonomous systems are increasingly critical to several current and future Department of Defense (DoD) mission needs. More
Our society’s infrastructure is increasingly dependent on software deployed on a wide variety of computing devices other than commodity personal computers, such as industrial equipment, automobiles, and airplanes. Unlike commodity computers that have short upgrade cycles and are easily replaceable in case of failure, these computing devices are intended for longer service, and are hard to replace. More
| Cyber | Systems |
The Atmosphere as a Sensor (AtmoSense) program is a fundamental science program that seeks to understand the propagation of mechanical and electromagnetic energy from the surface of the Earth through the Earth's ionosphere due to transient events such as meteorological sources, geophysical sources, prompt hazards, etc. For example, an event on the surface of the Earth, such as a volcanic eruption, will produce radially outward longitudinal mechanical perturbations on the atmosphere. More
| Space |
Water transport is as mission-critical and as logistically challenging as fuel transport for the U.S. military. Meeting deployed military water needs requires equipment resources, consumes fuel, and endangers personnel. The goal of DARPA’s Atmospheric Water Extraction (AWE) program is to provide potable freshwater for a range of military, stabilization, and humanitarian needs through the development of small, lightweight, low-powered, distributable systems that extract potable water from the atmosphere to meet the drinking needs of individuals and groups, even in extremely arid climates. More
Precise timing is essential across DoD systems, including communications, navigation, electronic warfare, intelligence systems reconnaissance, and system-of-systems platform coordination, as well as in national infrastructure applications in commerce and banking, telecommunications, and power distribution. Improved clock performance throughout the timing network, particularly at point-of-use, would enable advanced collaborative capabilities and provide greater resilience to disruptions of timing synchronization networks, notably by reducing reliance on satellite-based global navigation satellite system (GNSS) timing signals. More
State-of-the-art magnetometers are used for diverse civilian and DoD applications, among them biomedical imaging, navigation, and detecting unexploded ordnance and underwater and underground anomalies. Commercially available magnetometers range from inexpensive Hall probes to highly sensitive fluxgate and atomic magnetometers to high-precision Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) and Spin Exchange Relaxation Free (SERF) magnetometers. More