Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Foundational Strategic Technologies and Systems

Versatile enabling technologies that could lead to entire new classes of capabilities

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ARPA research played a central role in launching the “Information Revolution,” including developing or furthering much of the conceptual basis for ARPANET, a pioneering network for sharing digital resources among geographically separated computers. Its initial demonstration in 1969 led to the Internet, whose world-changing consequences unfold on a daily basis today. A seminal step in this sequence took place in 1968 when ARPA contracted BBN Technologies to build the first routers, which one year later enabled ARPANET to become operational.

As part of an ARPA-funded experiment to find better ways for computer users to interact with computers, Douglas Engelbart of SRI—who would later work on the DARPA-sponsored ARPANET project, the Internet’s precursor—invented the computer mouse. The first mouse was carved out of wood and had just one button. Later incarnations such as this early Logitech® mouse led to the diversity of mice now on desktops around the world.

The mouse was an early example of many innovations that DARPA would help nurture into various components of the information technology landscape over the next five decades. In What Will Be (HarperCollins, 1997), author Michael Dertouzos credits DARPA with “… between a third and a half of all the major innovations in computer science and technology.”

Throughout DARPA’s history, artificial intelligence (AI) has been an important area of groundbreaking research and development (R&D). In the 1960s, DARPA researchers completed some of the foundational work in the field, leading to the creation of expert systems, or the first wave of AI technologies. Since then, DARPA has funded developments in the second wave of AI – machine learning – which has significantly impacted defense and commercial capabilities in areas such as speech understanding, self-driving cars, and image recognition.
March 6-7, 2019,
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
DARPA has long been a leader in the field of artificial intelligence, establishing the foundations of the field and leading creation of expert systems, and then supporting the expansion of machine learning. The agency’s most recent investments — undertaken as part of DARPA’s $2 billion AI Next campaign — are supporting a shift in AI systems from tools alone to trusted, collaborative partners in problem solving. To increase awareness of DARPA’s expansive AI R&D efforts, the agency is hosting an Artificial Intelligence Colloquium (AIC) in March 2019. The event will bring together the Department of Defense research community and stakeholders to learn more about DARPA’s current and emerging AI programs, and discover how the technologies in development could apply to diverse missions.
Serial Interactions in Imperfect Information Games Applied to Complex Military Decision Making (SI3-CMD) builds on recent developments in artificial intelligence and game theory to enable more effective decisions in adversarial domains. SI3-CMD will explore several military decision making applications at strategic, tactical, and operational levels and develop AI/game theory techniques appropriate for their problem characteristics.