IARPA in the News 2014

Today at Berkeley Lab

The White House hosted a conference on Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) yesterday as a follow up to the President’s 2013 announcement of the BRAIN initiative. Brought together to talk about how they could play a role in making this collaborative endeavor a success, conference attendees included representatives from national labs, academic and private research organizations, federal agencies (including DARPA, NSF, NIH, FDA, and IARPA), foundations and philanthropies, investors, and industry. The BRAIN Initiative has been hailed as a bold new research effort to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind and uncover new ways to treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury....

The Scientist

President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative will receive an additional $300 million in funding thanks to an influx of public, private, philanthropic, and academic investments, the White House announced today (September 30). In addition, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) join the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in supporting the initiative. Further, the NIH today announced $46 million in grants for BRAIN, which was launched in April 2013 and aims to fully map the human brain.

Nature

Just 18 months after the White House announced the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, the US National Institutes of Health has awarded its first US$46 million in grants for the programme....

The NIH is the last of the three agencies involved in BRAIN to announce its awards. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, which received $50 million this year, has announced several multimillion dollar grants for therapeutic applications such as brain stimulation to improve memory and prosthetic limbs controlled by brain activity. The National Science Foundation received $30 million and, in August, announced 36 small awards for basic research in topics such as brain evolution and ways to store data collected from brains.

Meanwhile, two additional federal agencies — the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) — are set to join the effort, the White House announced on 30 September.

The New York Times

The Obama administration plans to announce Tuesday that it has recruited new federal agencies and a number of universities, foundations and businesses to help pursue the goals of the Brain Initiative, which the president started in 2013....

Google, General Electric, companies involved in optics and other technologies, several universities and the Simons Foundation, which recently started its own brain study program, will be included in the announcement.

Federal agencies that are planning involvement are the Food and Drug Administration and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, which supports research of interest to government intelligence agencies.

gentry

Security and Privacy Assurance Research (SPAR) researcher Dr. Craig Gentry of IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center has been named a MacArthur Fellow for 2014.

This honor was bestowed for Gentry's breakthrough development of the first fully homomorphic encryption (HE) scheme in 2009, solving a 30-year-old open problem, and his development of the first multilinear map technique, another breakthrough result that solved a 10-year-old problem. HE allows one to add and multiply encrypted values as if they were unencrypted. This enables the use of untrusted parties to store and compute on sensitive encrypted data without learning the underlying data.

In IARPA's SPAR program, Gentry was a principal investigator for IBM's research project to develop and apply efficient HE techniques to protect privacy and civil liberties. Gentry's work on multilinear maps was also funded partly by IARPA and sought to develop alternatives to HE that had similar properties with respect to privacy protections but could perhaps be much more efficient. In 2014, the SPAR program concluded with successful tests of IBM's prototype that securely queried databases of private information without revealing the sensitive query to the data owner and without retrieving any private information that was not relevant to the query.

Photo credit: MacArthur Foundation