IARPA in the News


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


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.


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.”


Factors ranging from weapons of mass destruction proliferation to nanotechnology advances are driving the development of new technologies to serve the U.S. intelligence community. Necessity and opportunity are well represented among items listed by agency technologists at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit 2014, held September 18-19 in Washington, D.C....

On the technology front, Peter Highnam, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA), cited biomedical technologies and superconducting as important research areas.

Washington Post

While industry analysts and venture capitalists argue about which nascent technology trends will stick around, one federal agency is betting its software can answer the question for them.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, a group created to coordinate research for the intelligence community, has designed an application to identify technology that isn’t well-known today but might be in three to five years.


Government is targeting intelligence technology research to maximize its return while relying on industry to provide complementary development, according to a group of government intelligence technologists. This approach aims to address budget constraints amid increased investments by other nations.

Some of the community’s research practices were outlined by a panel at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit 2014, being held September 18-19 in Washington, D.C. Peter Highnam, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA), noted that IARPA does not fund basic research. Instead, it builds on the research done by industry.