IARPA in the News 2015

Dart-Throwing Chimp

The U.S. Department of State dropped its second Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, or QDDR, last week (here). Modeled on the Defense Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review, the QDDR lays out the department’s big-picture concerns and objectives so that—in theory—they can guide planning and shape day-to-day decision-making.

The new QDDR establishes four main goals, one of which is to “strengthen our ability to prevent and respond to internal conflict, atrocities, and fragility.” To help do that, the State Department plans to “increase [its] use of early warning analysis to drive early action on fragility and conflict.”...

Of course, quite a bit of well-designed conflict forecasting is already happening, much of it paid for by the U.S. government. To name a few of the relevant efforts: The Political Instability Task Force (PITF) and the Worldwide Integrated Conflict Early Warning System (W-ICEWS) routinely update forecasts of various forms of political crisis for U.S. government customers. IARPA’s Open Source Indicators (OSI) and Aggregative Contingent Estimation (ACE) programs are simultaneously producing forecasts now and discovering ways to make future forecasts even better. Meanwhile, outside the U.S. government, the European Union has recently developed its own Global Conflict Risk Index (GCRI), and the Early Warning Project now assesses risks of mass atrocities in countries worldwide."


A program partially funded by IARPA has uncovered a way for scientists to detect quantum errors, clearing the way for more practical uses of quantum computing....

The discovery — partially funded through an Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or IARPA, program — could have "enormous potential" for a myriad of applications.

"Quantum computing could be potentially transformative, enabling us to solve problems that are impossible or impractical to solve today," said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director of IBM Research, in a press release. "While quantum computers have traditionally been explored for cryptography, one area we find very compelling is the potential for practical quantum systems to solve problems in physics and quantum chemistry that are unsolvable today."

Washington Post

Imagine a computer that could sift through millions of financial transactions in real time to detect fraud or look for signs of insider trading, and do it exponentially faster than the most powerful computers in the world today....

Last week, IBM published a research paper describing two developments that could have significant implications for the future design of such computers. IBM’s research was funded in part by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, which has sponsored several such efforts in the past.

The team demonstrated a way to identify and detect arbitrary errors in a quantum computer simultaneously; until now, only one type of error could be detected at a time. They also showed that it was possible to detect errors on a design that could potentially be scaled up to create larger, more powerful quantum computers.


Quantum computers could offer a massive performance boost over conventional types, but progress toward commercially useful machines has been slow.

Now, scientists from IBM's Watson Research Center have successfully demonstrated a new method for correcting errors on a quantum circuit.


IBM has reported two new developments in its ongoing work to build what the company calls a “practical” quantum computer as part of efforts to advance quantum computing to solve scientific problems in the fields of physics and chemistry....

The quantum computing project, which is partly funded under the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity‘s multi-qubit-coherent-operations program, reported the new findings in the Nature Communications journal’s April 29 issue.