IARPA in the News


If you’ve ever seen an ad for an investment product, you’ve heard the phrase “past performance does not guarantee future results.” Because of course, it doesn’t. But that doesn’t stop businesses, governments, organizations and individuals from trying to predict the future. In an effort to improve our odds, a government research agency — the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA)– has been sponsoring annual competitions among university teams to devise better ways to measure and improve the art of forecasting world events.

Wharton marketing professor Barbara Mellers has been leading one of those teams — one that won the competition three years straight.

In this interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Mellers discusses her team’s findings, what makes some people better prognosticators, and how the best forecasters can be given a boost.


Emerging tech agency the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity's Office of Smart Collection is soliciting proposals for "means for collecting information from previously inaccessible sources" and "ways to ensure the veracity of data collected from a variety of sources," according to a new announcement.

Intelligence Community News

On May 11, the Intelligence Advance Research Projects Activity (IARPA) posted the following broad agency announcement (BAA) (Solicitation Number: IARPA-BAA-15-01). IARPA's Office of Smart Collection is soliciting proposals for research that will maximize insight from the information the Intelligence Community collects, in a timely fashion. This funding opportunity will close on May 10, 2016.

Intelligence Community News

...IARPA is soliciting proposals for research that will maximize insight from the information the Intelligence Community collects, in a timely fashion (Solicitation Number: IARPA-BAA-15-02). The BAA’s closing date is May 10, 2016; however, proposals are encouraged at any time during the BAA’s open period.

EE Times

...Another way to store qubits is in traps where quantum information is encoded on ion atoms by lasers. Georgia Tech Research Institute and Honeywell International demonstrated this week a new ion-trap architecture that multiplies by the number of ion traps a chip can hold. The qubits contained in the traps and read and written with scanning lasers.

The researchers said their new micro-fabrication technique also had applications in making other atomic-scale devices such as sensors, magnetometers and chip-scale atomic clocks.

Funding was provided by the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) program.

Journal of Applied Physics

State-of-the-art microfabricated ion traps for quantum information research are approaching nearly one hundred control electrodes. We report here on the development and testing of a new architecture for microfabricated ion traps, built around ball-grid array (BGA) connections, that is suitable for increasingly complex trap designs. In the BGA trap, through-substrate vias bring electrical signals from the back side of the trap die to the surface trap structure on the top side. Gold-ball bump bonds connect the back side of the trap die to an interposer for signal routing from the carrier. Trench capacitors fabricated into the trap die replace area-intensive surface or edge capacitors. Wirebonds in the BGA architecture are moved to the interposer. These last two features allow the trap die to be reduced to only the area required to produce trapping fields. The smaller trap dimensions allow tight focusing of an addressing laser beam for fast single-qubit rotations. Performance of the BGA trap as characterized with 40Ca+ ions is comparable to previous surface-electrode traps in terms of ion heating rate, mode frequency stability, and storage lifetime. We demonstrate two-qubit entanglement operations with 171Yb+ ions in a second BGA trap....

This material is based upon work supported by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) under U.S. Army Research Office (ARO) contracts W911NF1210605 and W911NF1010231. All statements of fact, opinion, or conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be construed as representing the official views or policies of IARPA, the ODNI, or the U.S. Government.

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."