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.

Current artificial intelligence (AI) systems excel at tasks defined by rigid rules – such as mastering the board games Go and chess with proficiency surpassing world-class human players. However, AI systems aren’t very good at adapting to constantly changing conditions commonly faced by troops in the real world – from reacting to an adversary’s surprise actions, to fluctuating weather, to operating in unfamiliar terrain. More
The “Science of Atomic Vapors for New Technologies” (SAVaNT) program aims to significantly advance the performance of atomic vapors as a room-temperature (RT) platform for enabling new technologies in the areas of electric field sensing and imaging, magnetic field sensing, and quantum information science (QIS). More
The Sea Train program aims to demonstrate long range deployment capabilities for a distributed fleet of tactical unmanned surface vessels. The program seeks to enable extended transoceanic transit and long-range naval operations by exploiting the efficiencies of a system of connected vessels (Sea Train). More
Distributed applications are important tools for managing global enterprises as they improve both the speed and scale of decision-making, learning, and other critical functions. Virtual documents are one example of a commonly used distributed application. These provide organizations with the ability to have multiple writers and editors collaborate on document authoring in near real-time regardless of their physical locations. These critical productivity tools rely on internet-enabled, enterprise-wide communication systems to interconnect sites and create a global substrate to support their operation. More
The security of communications and information for troops operating in tactical warfighting environments is limited. At the tactical edge, end-to-end connections on secure servers are typically unreliable, negatively impacting operations and coordination with coalition partners. More
A zero-knowledge (ZK) proof is an interactive protocol between a prover and a verifier. The prover creates a statement that they want the verifier to accept, using knowledge that will remain hidden from the verifier. Recent research has substantially increased the efficiency of ZK proofs, enabling real-world use, primarily by cryptocurrencies. While useful for cryptocurrencies, the ZK proofs created are specialized for this task and do not necessarily scale for transactions that are more complex. For highly complex proof statements like those that the Department of Defense (DoD) may wish to employ, novel and more efficient approaches are needed. More
The Seeker Cost Transformation (SECTR) program seeks to develop novel weapon terminal sensing and guidance technologies and systems for air-launched, air-delivered weapons. SECTR technologies would enable weapons to acquire fixed and moving targets with only minimal external support; achieve high navigation accuracy in a GPS-denied environment; and be low size, weight, and cost. More
Media generation and manipulation technologies are advancing rapidly and purely statistical detection methods are quickly becoming insufficient for identifying falsified media assets. Detection techniques that rely on statistical fingerprints can often be fooled with limited additional resources (algorithm development, data, or compute). More