IARPA in the News

The Scientist

President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative will receive an additional $300 million in funding thanks to an influx of public, private, philanthropic, and academic investments, the White House announced today (September 30). In addition, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) join the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in supporting the initiative. Further, the NIH today announced $46 million in grants for BRAIN, which was launched in April 2013 and aims to fully map the human brain.

Nature

Just 18 months after the White House announced the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, the US National Institutes of Health has awarded its first US$46 million in grants for the programme....

The NIH is the last of the three agencies involved in BRAIN to announce its awards. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, which received $50 million this year, has announced several multimillion dollar grants for therapeutic applications such as brain stimulation to improve memory and prosthetic limbs controlled by brain activity. The National Science Foundation received $30 million and, in August, announced 36 small awards for basic research in topics such as brain evolution and ways to store data collected from brains.

Meanwhile, two additional federal agencies — the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) — are set to join the effort, the White House announced on 30 September.

The New York Times

The Obama administration plans to announce Tuesday that it has recruited new federal agencies and a number of universities, foundations and businesses to help pursue the goals of the Brain Initiative, which the president started in 2013....

Google, General Electric, companies involved in optics and other technologies, several universities and the Simons Foundation, which recently started its own brain study program, will be included in the announcement.

Federal agencies that are planning involvement are the Food and Drug Administration and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, which supports research of interest to government intelligence agencies.

gentry

Security and Privacy Assurance Research (SPAR) researcher Dr. Craig Gentry of IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center has been named a MacArthur Fellow for 2014.

This honor was bestowed for Gentry's breakthrough development of the first fully homomorphic encryption (HE) scheme in 2009, solving a 30-year-old open problem, and his development of the first multilinear map technique, another breakthrough result that solved a 10-year-old problem. HE allows one to add and multiply encrypted values as if they were unencrypted. This enables the use of untrusted parties to store and compute on sensitive encrypted data without learning the underlying data.

In IARPA's SPAR program, Gentry was a principal investigator for IBM's research project to develop and apply efficient HE techniques to protect privacy and civil liberties. Gentry's work on multilinear maps was also funded partly by IARPA and sought to develop alternatives to HE that had similar properties with respect to privacy protections but could perhaps be much more efficient. In 2014, the SPAR program concluded with successful tests of IBM's prototype that securely queried databases of private information without revealing the sensitive query to the data owner and without retrieving any private information that was not relevant to the query.

Photo credit: MacArthur Foundation

InformationWeek

The Internet of Things has the potential to completely change the intelligence community. The IoT is jargon for the accelerating expansion of data-gathering devices that are connected to the Internet.

A panel of experts at the Intelligence & National Security Summit last week in Washington, D.C., agreed that the explosion of data is generally a good thing when it comes to meeting the mission of the intelligence community. However, it raises concerns about how to sift useful information from the vast quantities of data generated, as well as issues of privacy....

Chris Reed, program manager in the Office of Smart Collection at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), noted that along with the challenge of selecting and prioritizing data, the question of accessibility remains.

Phys.org

A physicist in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences has received a major grant to support ongoing work in quantum information science.

Britton Plourde, associate professor of physics, is the recipient of a $230,000 Defense University Research Instrumentation Program award from the Army Research Office (ARO). The award enables him to acquire a cryogen-free adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator (ADR) for the College's Department of Physics....

One of Plourde's projects, led by IBM and funded by the U.S. government's Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, has him combining multiple superconducting qubits with microwave resonators, in hopes of implementing a quantum algorithm.

Stony Brook University Happenings

Hackers continue to breach our everyday lives, with recent reports of stolen consumer credit and debit card data from Home Depot and other major retailers contributing to a national cybersecurity scare.

Such a scare prompts action. As part of a Computer Science Tech Day September 12 at the Charles B. Wang Center, Stony Brook University’s Department of Computer Science opened the National Security Institute (NSI) — a program intent on amplifying our cybersecurity through technological research and development....

“Cyber research needs to be relevant that it addresses national security needs – not restricted to government operations, but inclusive of everything that’s key to our society’s infrastructure,” said Konrad Vesey of the IARPA. “The federal government needs proposals that express optimistic views and techniques for software assurance.”