Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Harnessing Complexity

Systems comprising multiple and diverse interactions

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Computational models and simulations can be enormously helpful when designing complex military systems such as new aerospace vehicles and engines, reducing development costs and times. However, realistic, high-fidelity models require enormous amounts of computing power in order to be able to accommodate all of the different factors that may affect predictive accuracy. To mitigate this computational cost, researchers often use simplified models, but these models contain assumptions, ambiguities, incomplete information, and inputs that vary unpredictably.
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are making virtual and robotic assistants increasingly capable in performing complex tasks. For these “smart” machines to be considered safe and trustworthy collaborators with human partners, however, robots must be able to quickly assess a given situation and apply human social norms. Such norms are intuitively obvious to most people—for example, the result of growing up in a society where subtle or not-so-subtle cues are provided from childhood about how to appropriately behave in a group setting or respond to interpersonal situations. But teaching those rules to robots is a novel challenge.
As nation-state and non-state adversaries adapt and apply commercially available state-of-the-art technology in urban conflict, expeditionary U.S. forces face a shrinking operational advantage. To address this challenge, a new DARPA program is aiming to create powerful, digital tools for exploring novel expeditionary urban operations concepts—with a special emphasis on coastal cities, where future such battles are deemed most likely to occur. The program will test the new tools and concepts in an integrated virtual environment, with the ultimate goal of developing fluidly composable force packages able to maximize tactical advantage in these complex, urban environments.
DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office (STO) is hosting a “Sync with STO” event on August 2 - 3, 2017, designed to familiarize attendees with STO’s mission, problem spaces, program managers (PMs), and technology interests. The event aims to facilitate technical discussion between STO PMs and attendees that explore innovative and revolutionary ideas for addressing national security challenges.
DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office (STO) this week unveiled its updated approach to winning or deterring future conflicts during Sync with STO Day, held in Arlington, Virginia. At the event—which attracted about 300 innovators and entrepreneurs, more than half of whom had never worked with DARPA before—STO program managers outlined new areas of interest and held discussions with attendees to explore innovative technology solutions for strategic national security challenges.