The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is seeking innovative solutions through this Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Reynard Program, which is envisioned to begin in the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2009 and end by 2012.

Events in today's world move at an accelerating pace, and are often shaped by information (whether correct or incorrect) that is communicated by diverse and increasingly novel means. A nuanced picture of events and attitudes is required to inform policy developers and other decision-makers in this complex and fast-paced environment. IARPA sponsors leading-edge research to help the Intelligence Community keep abreast of the many sources of information needed to inform our nation's leadership. A new channel for information exchange and social interaction is emerging with the growing popularity of Virtual Worlds (VWs) and Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs). Industry experts predict the number of VW users will exceed a half billion by the end of 2009. As participation in these VWs broadens and deepens, the need for understanding the nature of interactions in these worlds arises.

Starting from the premise that Real World (RW) characteristics are reflected in VW behavior, the IARPA Reynard program seeks to identify behavioral indicators in VWs and MMOGs that are related to the RW characteristics of the users. Performers in the Reynard program will be expected to produce one or more VW behavioral indicators that serve to identify RW attributes of individuals or groups. Attributes of interest include the following: gender, approximate age, economic status, educational level, occupation, ideology or "world view", degree of influence, "digital native" vs "digital immigrant," approximate physical geographic location, native language, and culture. Other RW characteristics might also be empirically deduced through behavioral indicators. VW behavioral indicators may be examined in the areas of Avatars and Representation, Communication, Things That Avatars Do, Group Formation and Dynamics, Money and Economics, and Cultural Differences.

The Reynard program will be structured into two 18-month phases. Multiple awards are anticipated for Phase 1. Performance against the Phase 1 metrics will be a key factor in determining whether a performer will continue on to Phase 2.

Proposals must be received at or before 5:00pm ET on June 16, 2009.

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