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.

Dominance of the radio frequency (RF) spectrum is critical to successful U.S. military operations. Today, we do this using discrete radar, electronic warfare (EW), and communication payloads that are separately designed, procured, and integrated on platforms. These payloads typically use dedicated apertures, are realized with tightly coupled hardware and software, and are not well-coordinated in their use of spectrum. This rigid and constrained approach makes it difficult and time-consuming to adopt new technology, adapt to rapidly changing adversary threats, maneuver functions effectively in spectrum, and create comprehensive compact RF systems. More
The Cross-Domain Maritime Surveillance and Targeting (CDMaST) program seeks to identify and implement architectures consisting of novel combinations of manned and unmanned systems to deny ocean environments to adversaries as a means of projecting power. By exploiting promising new developments in unmanned systems along with emerging long-range weapon systems, the program aims to develop an advanced, integrated undersea and above-sea warfighting capability able to execute long-range attacks against submarines and ships over large contested maritime areas. More
Embedded computing systems are ubiquitous in critical infrastructure, vehicles, smart devices, and military systems. Conventional wisdom once held that cyberattacks against embedded systems were not a concern since they seldom had traditional networking connections on which an attack could occur. However, attackers have learned to bridge air gaps that surround the most sensitive embedded systems, and network connectivity is now being extended to even the most remote of embedded systems. More
| Cyber | Formal | Trust |
The rapid pace of innovation in software and hardware over the past three decades has produced computational systems that, despite security improvements, remain stubbornly vulnerable to attack. Although clean-sheet design can produce fundamental security improvements that gradually diffuse into the installed base, this process can take years. More
DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge is a first-of-its-kind tournament designed to speed the development of automated security systems able to defend against cyberattacks as fast as they are launched. More
High performance optoelectronic systems, e.g. ultra low-noise lasers and optoelectronic signal sources, are employed in numerous applications such as fiber optic communications, high-precision timing references, LADAR, imaging arrays, etc. Current state-of-the-art ultra-low noise lasers and optoelectronic signal sources use macro-scale photonics for mechanical and thermal noise suppression, and off-chip electronics for feedback control. The benchtop or rack mount component-level assembly of these sources limits photonic coupling efficiency as well as the speed of electronic feedback, and also adds size and weight to the system. Integration of these components in a chip-scale form factor could greatly mitigate these limitations. More
The DAHI Foundry Technology program thrust seeks to establish an accessible, manufacturable technology for device-level heterogeneous integration of a wide array of materials and devices (including, for example, multiple electronics and MEMS technologies) with complex silicon-enabled (e.g. CMOS) architectures on a common silicon substrate. of The DAHI Foundry Technology thrust will incorporate and build upon the heterogeneous integration technologies of the COSMOS and E-PHI program thrusts, while also developing new capabilities in heterogeneous integration processes, yield and circuit design innovation.  More
Understanding the complex and increasingly data-intensive world around us relies on the construction of robust empirical models, i.e., representations of real, complex systems that enable decision makers to predict behaviors and answer “what-if” questions. Today, construction of complex empirical models is largely a manual process requiring a team of subject matter experts and data scientists. More