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.

Chemical and biological (CB) threats have become increasingly ubiquitous and diverse. They present a risk to our stability operators in pandemic outbreak scenarios, and our warfighters serving in diverse operating environments. State-of-the-art protective equipment continues to severely limit mobility and performance of the user because of a dependence upon protective garments that are thick, heavy, and cumbersome. The Personalized Protective Biosystem (PPB) program aims to reduce protective equipment needs while increasing protection against existing and future CB threats. More
Advances in digital microelectronics have enabled indispensable capabilities for the Department of Defense (DoD) in the fields of information processing, sensors, and communications. Increasingly, system performance in these domains is constrained not by the limits of computation at individual nodes, but by electrical data movement between individual chips. More
The Physics of Artificial Intelligence (PAI) program is part of a broad DAPRA initiative to develop and apply “Third Wave” AI technologies to sparse data and adversarial spoofing, and that incorporate domain-relevant knowledge through generative contextual and explanatory models. More
The unrelenting progression of Moore's Law has created a steady cadence to ever-smaller transistors and more powerful chips, allowing billions of transistors to be integrated on a single system-on-chip (SoC). However, engineering productivity has not kept pace with Moore's Law, leading to prohibitive increases in development costs and team sizes for leading-edge SoC design. To help manage the complexity of SoC development, design reuse in the form of Intellectual Property (IP) modules has become the primary strategy. More
The Precise Robust Inertial Guidance for Munitions (PRIGM) program is developing inertial sensor technologies to enable positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) in GPS-denied environments. PRIGM comprises two focus areas: development of a navigation-grade inertial measurement unit (NGIMU) based on micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) platforms, and basic research of advanced inertial micro sensor (AIMS) technologies for future gun-hard, high-bandwidth, high-dynamic-range, GPS-free navigation. More
Pathogens with pandemic potential, toxic chemicals, and radioactive materials all endanger public health and pose a threat to national security. Despite investment in the development of medical countermeasures (MCMs) to address these threats, many existing MCMs suffer from limited applicability, insufficient efficacy, requirements for repeat dosing, lengthy and complex manufacturing processes, and logistically burdensome storage requirements. In many cases, unique threats require unique responses, setting up a “one threat, one MCM” paradigm. More
United States military forces deploy to remote locations around the world, often in areas where emerging infectious diseases are common. The PREventing EMerging Pathogenic Threats (PREEMPT) program seeks to preserve military readiness by protecting against the infectious disease threat; however, rather than treating people, PREEMPT targets viral pathogens within the animal reservoirs and insect vectors where many diseases originate before they spill over into humans. More
The Prometheus program aims to improve military readiness and force health through development of a prognostic that can determine if an individual is contagious before he exhibits symptoms of illness. DARPA’s goal is to develop a molecular test for determining if an individual is likely to spread disease following exposure to an infectious agent and predict within 24 hours of exposure if that individual will become contagious. That ability to predict contagiousness would allow for specific planning and concentration of resources to prevent the spread of an illness from an individual to a population within the confined settings and close quarters typical of military operations. More