IARPA in the News 2015

SIAM Data Mining

Rapidly increasing volumes of news feeds from diverse data sources, such as online newspapers, Twitter and online blogs are proving to be extremely valuable resources in helping anticipate, detect, and forecast outbreaks of rare diseases. This paper presents SourceSeer, a novel algorithmic framework that combines spatio-temporal topic models with sourcebased anomaly detection techniques to effectively forecast the emergence and progression of infectious rare diseases. SourceSeer is capable of discovering the location focus of each source allowing sources to be used as experts with varying degrees of authoritativeness. To fuse the individual source predictions into a final outbreak prediction we employ a multiplicative weights algorithm taking into account the accuracy of each source. We evaluate the performance of SourceSeer using incidence data for hantavirus syndromes in multiple countries of Latin America provided by HealthMap over a timespan of fifteen months. We demonstrate that SourceSeer makes predictions of increased accuracy compared to several baselines and is capable of forecasting disease outbreaks in a timely manner even when no outbreaks were previously reported....

This work is supported by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) via Department of Interior National Business Center (DoI/NBC) contract number D12PC000337, the US Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright annotation thereon.


The human brain consists of about 100 billion neurons, yet no one knows how many distinct types or shapes of those neurons exist. Creating a framework for answering that basic question and many other, much more complex questions is among the goals of a new multi-institutional research effort.

The project, called BigNeuron, aims to create reliable high-throughput and quantitative 3D reconstructions of the thousands of branches that make up individual neurons. It’s a crucial step, say researchers, to ultimately understanding how the brain encodes information....

BigNeuron’s launch comes as interest in researching the human brain has grown enough in recent years to spawn two large-scale, public-private research efforts....

NIH hopes to step up activity within and across four partner federal agencies in BRAIN—FDA, NSF, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). Cross-agency efforts can be expected along the lines of the Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience (CRCNS) program. NIH and NSF have joined with the German and French funding agencies and the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation to review and fund proposals intended to add to “understanding of nervous system structure and function, mechanisms underlying nervous system disorders, and computational strategies used by the nervous system.”

Defense One

What could the military do if it could better understand the massive amounts of data that humanity creates, an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes every day? Could it predict aspects of the future?...

The ways in which humans interact with government, with one another, with medical facilities, transit systems and brands, etc. can predict events of national security significance. They can indicate, for instance, if a deadly disease outbreak is taking hold in a small rural community or if civil unrest is on the rise.

One example of that is the Open Source Indicators Program, launched in 2011 by from the Intelligence Advanced Research Programs agency. Led by program manager Jason Matheny, Open Source Indicators funds projects to predict events of national security relevance by monitoring tens of thousands of blogs, RSS feeds, news reports, social network chatter from sites like Twitter and Facebook, and other open sources...

Join Patrick Tucker online for a video discussion with DARPA’S Paul Cohen and IARPA’s Jason Matheny at 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, April 13. Find out more below, or sign up here for the Defense One viewcast.

Popular Science

America’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency is filled with a bunch of nerds. At the very least, they’ve got a Lord of the Rings fan in their acronym-making department. Their latest project, open for solicitations last week, is called the “Standoff ILluminator for Measuring Absorbance and Reflectance Infrared Light Signatures,” or SILMARILS. Named for the fictional crystal jewels of Silmarillion fame, SILMARILS is a device that will illuminate and discover trace chemicals from almost 100 feet away.

Intelligence Community News

On April 2, the Inteligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), Office of Smart Collection released a broad agency announcement for Standoff ILluminator for Measuring Absorbance and Reflectance Infrared Light Signatures (SILMARILS) Office of Smart Collection (IARPA-BAA-15-07). The proposal due date for the initial round of selections is 5:00 pm Eastern time May 18, 2015.