IARPA in the News 2015

IEEE Spectrum

Quantum computers won’t ever outperform today’s classical computers unless they can correct for errors that disrupt the fragile quantum states of their qubits. A team at Google has taken the next huge step toward making quantum computing practical by demonstrating the first system capable of correcting such errors.

Nature

Quantum computing becomes viable when a quantum state can be protected from environment-induced error. If quantum bits (qubits) are sufficiently reliable, errors are sparse and quantum error correction (QEC) is capable of identifying and correcting them. Adding more qubits improves the preservation of states by guaranteeing that increasingly larger clusters of errors will not cause logical failure—a key requirement for large-scale systems. Using QEC to extend the qubit lifetime remains one of the outstanding experimental challenges in quantum computing. Here we report the protection of classical states from environmental bit-flip errors and demonstrate the suppression of these errors with increasing system size. We use a linear array of nine qubits, which is a natural step towards the two-dimensional surface code QEC scheme7, and track errors as they occur by repeatedly performing projective quantum non-demolition parity measurements. Relative to a single physical qubit, we reduce the failure rate in retrieving an input state by a factor of 2.7 when using five of our nine qubits and by a factor of 8.5 when using all nine qubits after eight cycles. Additionally, we tomographically verify preservation of the non-classical Greenberger–Horne–Zeilinger state. The successful suppression of environment-induced errors will motivate further research into the many challenges associated with building a large-scale superconducting quantum computer.

SIGNAL

Challenges ranging from teaching people new ways of learning languages to providing security for homemade computer chips head the priority list for researchers at the National Security Agency. The exponential expansion of technology capabilities is perhaps matched by the growth of potential conflict areas, and both are increasing the issues faced by the agency’s research community....

Other research agencies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) cycle out researchers to ensure a steady flow of fresh blood. Not only does Frincke’s directorate have both fresh blood and long-term intellectual capital, its work with IARPA and DARPA is complementary, she allows.

“IARPA is a great example of a partnership where I can leverage their ability of really rapid rotation and their ability to be out and about in the community in a much broader way,” Frincke states. “There will be projects we do with IARPA, for example, where we’ll jointly decide that there’s a particular research area that’s best conducted on the outside but informed by internal knowledge.”

Homeland Security Today

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity’s (IARPA) recent announcement that its Office for Anticipating Surprise held a “proposers’ day conference” for its Cyber-attack Automated Unconventional Sensor Environment (CAUSE) Program in anticipation of the release of a new solicitation in support of the program has provoked a variety of responses by cybersecurity authorities.

ETC Press

Researchers in the behavioral, social, and neurophysiological sciences have recently begun to explore the limitations of many traditional lab and field-based studies. These include concerns over ecological validity, inconsistent replication, and recruitment of sufficiently large and diverse sample populations.

Alternate reality games (ARGs) may provide a novel research methodology that addresses some of these concerns. ARGs weave fictional narratives and problem-solving into everyday life. Designers use familiar tools and multimedia venues to engage players in psychologically meaningful interaction within a complex near-real-world context....

In their recent UAREHERE Request for Information, IARPA (2013) explored the possibility that Alternate Reality Games (ARGs)—in which carefully designed problem-solving opportunities are integrated with the use of real-world tools and social interactions, both mediated and face-to-face—may offer a novel way to address some of these issues.