Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Resilience and Robustness

Enabling technologies and systems to preserve effectiveness despite damage or other challenging conditions

Showing 67 results for Resilience RSS
As modern software systems continue inexorably to increase in complexity and capability, users have become accustomed to periodic cycles of updating and upgrading to avoid obsolescence—if at some cost in terms of frustration. In the case of the U.S. military, having access to well-functioning software systems and underlying content is critical to national security, but updates are no less problematic than among civilian users and often demand considerable time and expense. That is why today DARPA announced it will launch an ambitious four-year research project to investigate the fundamental computational and algorithmic requirements necessary for software systems and data to remain robust and functional in excess of 100 years.
State-of-the-art military sensors today rely on “active electronics” to detect vibration, light, sound or other signals. That means they constantly consume power, with much of that power and time spent processing what often turns out to be irrelevant data. This power consumption limits sensors’ useful lifetimes to a few weeks or months when operating from state-of-the-art batteries, and has slowed the development of new sensor technologies and capabilities. Moreover, the chronic need to redeploy power-depleted sensors is not only costly and time-consuming but also increases warfighter exposure to danger.
To succeed in their missions, military units must have a robust, multi-faceted picture of their operational environments, including the location, nature and activity of both threats and allied forces around them. Technology is making this kind of rich, real-time situational awareness increasingly available to airborne and other vehicle-assigned forces, along with a capacity to deploy precision armaments more safely, quickly and effectively. Dismounted infantry squads, however, have so far been unable to take full advantage of some of these highly effective capabilities because many of the technologies underlying them are too heavy and cumbersome for individual Soldiers and Marines to carry or too difficult to use under demanding field conditions.
Across the United States, 3200 separate organizations own and operate electrical infrastructure. The widely dispersed nature of the nation’s electrical grid and associated control systems has a number of advantages, including a reduced risk that any single accident or attack could create a widespread failure from which it might take weeks to recover. Since the late 1990’s, however, cost pressures have driven the integration of conventional information technologies into these independent industrial control systems, resulting in a grid that is increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attack, either through direct connection to the Internet or via direct interfaces to utility IT systems.
One of the greatest episodes in the history of clockmaking unfolded over three decades during the 18th century in response to a government challenge to overcome a daunting and often deadly problem: Find a way to reliably determine a ship’s east-west position, or longitude, on the high seas. British clockmaker John Harrison won the prize, equivalent to millions of today’s dollars, for his invention of a chronometer that remained stable enough for navigators to make accurate longitude calculations even during long-distance sea voyages.