IARPA in the News

American Psychological Association

When it comes to predicting important world events, teams do a better job than individuals, and laypeople can be trained to be effective forecasters even without access to classified records, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

According to the authors, the study findings challenge some common practices of the U.S. intelligence community, where professional analysts usually specialize in one topic or region and send reports up the chain of command. In what the authors call the first scientific study of its kind, researchers identified common characteristics that improved predictions by amateur participants in a geopolitical forecasting tournament. The contest was sponsored by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), an agency within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that funds research to improve intelligence practices.

Military & Aerospace Electronics

U.S. intelligence experts are trying to reverse-engineer the algorithms of the human brain by blending data science and neuro science in attempts to make rapid advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Officials of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) in Washington issued a broad agency announcement for the Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks (MICrONS) program to advance theories of neural computation.


Today’s supercomputers and high-end machines are fast and powerful, but they don’t learn well.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity wants to change that, through a new research and development program called MICrONS, which stands for Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks.


When Israel invaded the Gaza Strip in July, I turned a profit of $146.55. That same month, I made another $152.36 by successfully predicting that Joko Widodo would be elected president of Indonesia....

The events were real, of course, but alas, the payouts were not. My earnings were phony digital currency awarded by the website Inkling Markets, a public “prediction market” in which people use fake cash to buy fake shares in the outcomes of various developments in world news, politics, sports, and entertainment. Guess correctly often enough and you watch your screen name rise up the site’s leaderboard.

But if the shares have no monetary value, the results, collected and analyzed by Inkling, increasingly do. Mass-prediction models such as Inkling’s have existed as long as the internet has....

Inkling caught a break early on when it was contacted by officials at Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the research arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

Federal News Radio

The Homeland Security Department is thinking beyond continuous monitoring and the Director of National Intelligence wants help forecasting cyber attack vectors.

These are two interesting cybersecurity-related requests for information that may have been overlooked in December, but due dates for responses are coming soon.

Let's start with the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity's (IARPA) RFI for its CAUSE program.

IEEE Spectrum

SciCast lets participants bet points on specific outcomes of questions in science and technology, testing their judgment against thousands of others’ and reaping rewards if their prognostications are better than those of their competitors. Anyone can browse SciCast to see what participants think the future will bring. And anyone can play. Registration is required to make forecasts and join the game, but it’s minimal and free. You just need to pick a username and password. Even an e-mail address is optional. You may be asked for more information, or to complete a simple questionnaire to gauge general scientific and technical literacy, but whether you respond or not is up to you.

The George Mason team built SciCast with support from the U.S. Intelligence Research Projects Activity. It’s one of tools for staying ahead of world events, political and scientific. SciCast focuses on the sci-tech part, and is one of three approaches that have “produced notable results,” according to the Wall Street Journal.


The U.S. intelligence community is moving toward a hypernetwork of sensors and data collectors that ultimately will constitute an Internet of Things for the community and its customers. If it is successful, the intelligence community would have more data, processed into more knowledge, available more quickly and with greater fidelity for operators and decision makers.

For the intelligence community, the Internet of Things (IoT) takes the same approach as that of the commercial world, but it substitutes sensors and other data collection devices for consumer electronics. An intelligence IoT could comprise physical sensors, control devices, multipurpose communications and processing equipment and user interfaces, for example....

Chris Reed, program manager at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), observes that many compelling visions exist about networking large numbers of devices. “We can all imagine the benefits of being able to make better decisions and have predictions based on having access to a richer and denser set of data about ourselves—the physical and the social environments,” he declares.