IARPA in the News 2014

Defense Systems

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity has awarded the initial contracts in a five-year program that could up the ante in the field of high-performance—and low power—computing.

IARPA, the Intelligence Community’s research division, will work with IBM, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman in developing the first phase of its Cryogenic Computing Complexity, or C3, program, which aims to build a superconducting computer that can operate at exascale capacity—about 40 times faster than today’s fastest supercomputers—while requiring much less power than today’s machines.


The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity has selected three industry teams to perform research and development work on a future energy-efficient superconducting computer as part of IARPA’s multi-year Cryogenic Computer Complexity program.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Wednesday that teams led by IBM, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon‘s BBN Technologies subsidiary received research contracts to develop a replacement for complementary metal-oxide semiconductors in high-performance computing systems.

Voice Chronicle

US Intelligence agency has launched a research project to develop a superconducting supercomputer. The contract for building that computer has been awarded to three major technology companies.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (a branch of Director of National Intelligence) is funding the research, which will develop a superconducting supercomputer. The companies which won the contracts for this project are International Business Machines Corp, Raytheon BBN Technologies and Northrop Grumman Corp. The financial details of the project were not disclosed.


The secretive R&D wing of the US government’s intelligence efforts, IARPA, has announced a program to build a superconducting computer. IARPA will be working with IBM, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman to develop this superconducting computer, but the exact financial details of the deal are not available. Ultimately, the purpose of the program is to build an exascale supercomputer — a computer that is capable of at least 1,000 petaflops (1 exaflop), or about 40 times faster than the world’s existing supercomputers. And yes, in case you were wondering, such a computer would almost certainly be used by agencies like the CIA and NSA for cracking encrypted messages.

As you’ve probably surmised, IARPA — or Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity to give its full name — is the intelligence version of the US Department of Defense’s DARPA. A quick look at IARPA’s research programs shows some similarities to DARPA, but with a bias towards social engineering, neuromorphic (brain-like) computing, and parsing big data (to dig some nuggets of intelligence out of the haystack of data). In this case, the superconducting computer is part of the Cryogenic Computing Complexity (C3) program.


The US intelligence community has begun work on a project to develop a superconducting supercomputer and has awarded contracts to technology firms including IBM.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is a subsidy of the United States Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which invests in "high-risk, high-payoff research programmes that have the potential to provide our nation with an overwhelming intelligence advantage over our future adversaries".