Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Harnessing Complexity

Systems comprising multiple and diverse interactions

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DARPA's Defense Sciences Office (DSO) identifies and pursues high-risk, high-payoff research initiatives across a broad spectrum of science and engineering disciplines and transforms them into important, new game-changing technologies for U.S. national security. Current DSO themes include frontiers in math, computation and design, limits of sensing and sensors, complex social systems, and anticipating surprise. DSO relies on the greater scientific research community to help identify and explore ideas that could potentially revolutionize the state-of-the-art.
The mission of the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) is to identify and pursue high-risk, high-payoff research initiatives across a broad spectrum of science and engineering disciplines and to transform these initiatives into disruptive technologies for U.S. national security.
DARPA established the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) in 1980, combining the Nuclear Monitoring Research Office, materials science research, and cybernetic technology efforts into a single office. Since its inception, DSO has spawned two additional technology offices at DARPA: the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) in 1992 and the Biological Technologies Office (BTO) in 2014.
In today’s rapidly evolving mission environments, warfighters need new vehicles, weapons and other systems fielded quickly. Current design and development approaches, however, are unable to deliver those systems in a timely manner. To help overcome these challenges, DARPA’s Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) portfolio of programs is working to develop revolutionary approaches for the design, testing and manufacturing of complex defense systems, with the goal of shortening development timelines by five times or more. Thanks to strong early test results and a new opportunity to transition the technology, DARPA has decided to speed its current AVM successes to the defense industrial base in 2014—years earlier than originally planned.
Scientists and engineers in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office (DSO) promote and exploit new discoveries across the frontiers of physics, chemistry, and mathematics to identify and accelerate potentially game-changing technologies for U.S. national security. After recently spinning off biological technologies into a new office, DSO’s investment portfolio, which continues to create new materials and explore the boundaries of physical phenomena, is expanding to include novel approaches to understanding, predicting, designing, and developing engineered complex systems.