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.

A substantial and prolonged disruption of electric power would have profound economic and human costs for the United States. From a defense perspective, a major power outage could hamper military mobilization and logistics and impair the capability to project force. More
The Rapid Threat Assessment (RTA) program aims to provide critical information to speed production of medical countermeasures to protect U.S. forces against novel chemical and biological weapons. Such weapons have historically been mass-produced within a year of discovery. Development of countermeasures, however, currently takes far longer. Using current methods and technologies, researchers require decades of study to gain a cellular-level understanding of how new threat agents exert their effects. More
Automation and artificial intelligence are revolutionizing discovery and production of functional molecules by enabling fast, reproducible experimentation and efficient property optimization. These capabilities have already made a significant impact on prevalent molecular classes, such as pharmaceuticals, but niche areas characterized by unique chemical space, limited literature precedence, and requirements for specialized experimental hardware have experienced relatively slow improvement. One such area, critical to national security, is energetics. More
Driven by the rapidly evolving national security threat landscape, future defense systems will need access to low size, weight, and power (SWaP) artificial intelligence (AI) solutions that can rapidly transition from idea to practice. In recent years, the ability to learn from large datasets has advanced significantly due to increases in hardware performance, advances in machine learning (ML) algorithms, and the availability of high quality open datasets. More
Most camera designers seek to maximize spatial resolution and signal-to-noise (SNR). A wealth of information in the optical domain, however, is lost under those constraints. Specialty cameras exist to capture other types of information, but are not normally able to provide high SNR imagery at high spatial resolution from a single focal plane, and are used infrequently due to demands of additional camera systems. Today’s imaging systems primarily perform a single or limited set of measurements due, in part, to the underlying readout integrated circuits (ROICs), which sample the signal of interest and transfer the values off of the chip. Typically, ROICs are designed for a specific mode of operation, and, in essence, are application specific integrated circuits (ASICs). More
The Resilient Anonymous Communication for Everyone (RACE) program will research technologies for a distributed messaging system that can: a) exist completely within a given network, b) provide confidentiality, integrity, and availability of messaging, and c) preserve privacy to any participant in the system. Compromised system data and associated networked communications should not be helpful for compromising any additional parts of the system. More
Military logistic support has a large human cost in contested environments with no ability to create valuable materials when and where needed. DARPA’s ReSource program aims to revolutionize how the military procures critical supplies on the battlefield by engineering self-contained, integrated systems that rapidly produce large quantities of supplies from feedstock collected on-site. Envisioned on-demand products include lubricants, adhesives, tactical fibers, potable water, and edible macronutrients. More
The Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program aims to mitigate the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in military Service members by developing neurotechnologies to facilitate memory formation and recall in the injured brain. More than 270,000 Service members have been diagnosed with TBI since 2000. The condition frequently results in an impaired ability to retrieve memories formed prior to injury and a reduced capacity to form or retain new memories following injury. Despite the scale of the problem, few effective therapies currently exist to mitigate the long-term consequences of TBI on memory. Enabling restoration of memory function would support military readiness by providing injured personnel the option of returning to duty, and would improve quality of life for wounded veterans. More