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.

Mosquitoes transmit pathogens that cause dengue, malaria, and other diseases that present significant risks to the readiness and resilience of military personnel, and public health more generally. The ReVector program aims to maintain the health of military personnel operating in disease-endemic regions by reducing attraction and feeding by mosquitoes. More
Conventional optical imaging systems today largely limit themselves to the measurement of light intensity, providing two-dimensional renderings of three-dimensional scenes and ignoring significant amounts of additional information that may be carried by captured light. More
Thanks to improvements in body armor and combat casualty care, military Service members are now surviving severe battlefield injuries that involve traumatic limb amputation. However, because these survivors are predominantly young, they must live with their injuries for decades. This severely diminishes affected individuals’ quality of life and places a massive responsibility on the military's medical and rehabilitation system. More
Due to advancements in component technology, microsatellite systems are increasingly viable solutions to address earth science and remote sensing missions. For example, constellations of commercial, small, optical satellites are proliferating, supporting a variety of tasks and data applications. The ability to economically launch microsatellites on diverse launch vehicles promises advantages in rapid technology refresh, responsive space operations, and resilient (i.e., redundant) systems. More
| Space |
Hundreds of military, government and commercial satellites reside today in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) some 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the Earth—a perch ideal for providing communications, meteorology and national security services, but one so remote as to preclude inspection and diagnosis of malfunctioning components, much less upgrades or repairs. Even fully functional satellites sometimes find their working lives cut short simply because they carry obsolete payloads—a frustrating situation for owners of assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars. More
Today, code for input data validation is typically written manually in an ad-hoc manner. For commonly-used electronic data formats, input validation is, at a minimum, a problem of scale whereby specifications of these formats comprise hundreds to thousands of pages. Input validation thus translates to thousands or more conditions to be checked against the input data before the data can be safely processed. More
The Safe Genes program supports force protection and military health and readiness by protecting Service members from accidental or intentional misuse of genome editing technologies. Additional work will leverage advances in gene editing technology to expedite development of advanced prophylactic and therapeutic treatments against gene editors. Advances within the program will ensure the United States remains at the vanguard of the broadly accessible and rapidly progressing field of genome editing. More
It is easy to reverse engineer software today. An attacker generally requires no more than a basic debugger, a compiler and about a day's effort to de-obfuscate code that has been obfuscated with the best current methods. The reason for the relative ease is that program obfuscation is primarily based on "security through obscurity" strategies, typified by inserting passive junk code into a program’s source code. Existing program obfuscation methods also do not have quantifiable security models, and so it is difficult even to measure how much security is gained by a given obfuscation effort. More