“This is a record-setting year in terms of … the number of new programs,” said Jason Matheny at a National Defense Industrial Association executive breakfast in Washington, D.C.
IARPA serves 17 government agencies, from the military, to intelligence services including the National Reconnaissance Office and the Treasury and Energy Departments. About 70 percent of its projects transition into government operations, Matheny said.
The office will soon receive solicitations for several programs including DIVA, which aims to detect activity in video surveillance in real time, such as a person abandoning an object, two people exchanging an object, or a person carrying a firearm.
“We don’t want to just be doing analysis for forensic purposes, because something bad happened … we want to get to the state where we can actually alert security officers in real time when something bad is about to happen,” Matheny said.
The UnderWatch program is currently seeking sources ahead of a solicitation for proposals, Matheny said. It seeks to develop an autonomous underwater vehicle-based surveillance capability that could provide persistent undersea intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data in critical waterways, harbors and chokepoints, according to IARPA.
Another upcoming solicitation will focus on hybrid forecasting, and seeks to combine “the best of human judgments and machine learning models,” Matheny said. That would combine the instincts of Chess Grand Champion Garry Kasparov and his computer opponent Deep Blue, or Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings and IBM Watson, he said. “The goal is to draw on the best of machines and judgments.”
Virtuous User Environments (VirtUE) will work to address the security and performance challenges that may arise as U.S. government organizations consider moving their information technology operations to a cloud-based model.
All these programs will be open for bids within the next two months, Matheny said.
The office is currently working on several projects to address cyber threats, Matheny said. This includes VirtUE, and a project underway called CAUSE that seeks to observe internet chatter, web search queries and black market price changes for malware to detect and forecast cyber attacks significantly earlier than existing methods, he said.
“Unlike most cybersecurity programs that look at network and host data only, this actually looks out in the wild for indicators of upcoming attacks,” he said.
IARPA recently launched a challenge prize for researchers to develop a way to accurately produce detailed 3D mapping from space imagery. The full challenge has a prize pool of $100,000.
The CORE3D program is another open opportunity, which aims to use satellite imagery and Geographic Information System data to create operationally accurate 3D object models with real physical properties in under a minute, Matheny said. This would benefit global situational awareness for military and intelligence mission planning, according to IARPA.”