The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on research efforts in the area of machine learning with a particular focus on deep learning. This request for information (RFI)is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. The following sections of this announcement contain details of the scope of technical efforts of interest, along with instructions for the submission of responses.

Background & Scope

This RFI seeks capability statements relating to machine and deep learning. Responses to this RFI should address the following points:

  1. Respondent’s capabilities in the realm of machine and deep learning. Of specific interest is the respondent’s knowledge of, and experience implementing, current, cutting-edge machine learning techniques.
  2. Respondent’s ability to perform research and development at the TOP SECRET//SCI level. This includes the presence of qualified, cleared personnel as well as appropriate network access.

Preparation Instructions to Respondents

This information will be considered by the Government in formulating a potential program and list of sources. This announcement contains all of the information required to submit a response. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed.

IARPA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources from within the US.

Responses have the following formatting requirements:

  1. A one page cover sheet that identifies the title, organization(s), respondent's technical and administrative points of contact - including names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses of all co-authors, and clearly indicating its association with RFI-19-04;
  2. A substantive, focused, one-half page executive summary;
  3. A description (limited to 5 pages in minimum 12 point Times New Roman font, appropriate for singlesided, single-spaced 8.5 by 11 inch paper, with 1-inch margins) of the relevant experience and capabilities;
  4. A list of citations (any significant claims or reports of success must be accompanied by citations).

Submission Instructions to Respondents

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on January 17, 2019. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-19-04@iarpa.gov as a PDF document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-19-04@iarpa.gov. Do not send questions with proprietary content. No telephone inquiries will be accepted.

Disclaimers and Important Notes

This is an RFI issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation. Respondents are advised that IARPA is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received, or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI. Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract.

Respondents are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI. IARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. It is the respondent's responsibility to ensure that the submitted material has been approved for public release by the information owner.

The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited, nor is the Government obligated to issue a solicitation based on responses received. Neither proprietary nor classified concepts or information should be included in the submittal. Input on technical aspects of the responses may be solicited by IARPA from non-Government consultants/experts who are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements.

Contracting Office Address:

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, District of Columbia 20511
United States

Primary Point of Contact:

Dr. John Beieler
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-19-04@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-19-04 OPEN

Posted Date: December 4, 2018
Responses Due: January 17, 2019

 

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on research efforts in the area of cooling systems for small mobile devices. This request for information (RFI) is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. The following sections of this announcement contain details of the scope of technical efforts of interest, along with instructions for the submission of responses.

Background & Scope

Both the processing power available and the number of sensors that are available in, or linkable to, smartphones has increased exponentially in recent years. Today, smartphones can be commercially obtained with built-in capability to function as microphones, cameras, proximity sensors, ambient light sensors, motion sensors, gyroscopes, accelerometers, magnetometers (digital compasses), thermometers, humidity sensors, barometers, heart rate monitors, pulse oximeters, laser range finders, barcode scanners, and Geiger counters. Plug-in or wireless attachments for smartphones are commercially available that convert the devices into anemometers, temperature probes, digital stethoscopes, electrocardiograms (EKGs) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometers (FTIRs), among others.

Additionally, the intrinsic connectivity, processing power, and proliferation of specialized apps and smartphone compatible software makes smartphones excellent candidates to use as components of distributed and mobile sensing networks of many kinds. For example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Activity (DARPA) SIGMA program has demonstrated a distributed network of handheld and vehicle-based radiation detectors that uses in part cell phone processing and connectivity to produce a scalable network system for continuous, real-time nuclear and radiological threat monitoring. The current DARPA SIGMA+ program is expanding on this model to include a network of chemical and biological sensors. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction, and Synthesis (AUDREY) tool connect[s] with sensors on first responder’s personal protective equipment (PPE) and with information provided by the Internet of Things (IoT) through a suite of plugin tools, uses artificial intelligence to process the input data, then automatically provide[s] individually curated insight to those on the ground while delivering global situational awareness to incident response managers.

IARPA’s SILMARILS and MAEGLIN programs are developing compact sensor hardware for chemical detection on surfaces and in the gas phase, respectively. These sensors will need real-time processing capability, and have the potential to be deployed in a variety of mobile and stationary networked configurations to meet the requirements of a number of different chemical detection scenarios. The use of smartphones for local processing and/or sensor network connectivity is a likely use case scenario for both of these IARPA efforts, as well as a number of other Department of Defense and Homeland Security applications.

The use of smartphones both for their intrinsic capabilities (processing, data streaming, GPS), and as processors for other compact sensors can place a significant thermal burden on the smartphone’s electronics, especially when the phone is operated under challenging ambient conditions, such as inside of a stationary vehicle without climate control. According to Society of Automotive Engineers publications, when temperatures outside range from 80 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 114 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit.1 And the internal temperature of a smartphone under steady use can be significantly hotter than the ambient temperature. A phone used as a processor for a vehicle mounted sensor would quite likely be in use in a parked car. Additionally, even if a smartphone is powered off and simply stored in a hot vehicle, irreversible battery damage is likely at temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and at temperatures approaching 170 degrees Fahrenheit the battery may rupture, catch fire, or even explode, leading to destruction of the phone, associated sensors, and even the vehicle it was left in.

This RFI seeks novel, and aesthetically complimentary form factor approaches to a cooling solution for mobile devices, such as smart phones. The cooling solution must be designed to both mitigate the internal heat load from the device’s electronics under heavy use conditions, and shield the device from high ambient temperatures, up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. If the proposed cooling solution requires power, the power must be supplied within the form factor of the device, i.e. the cooling solution cannot tap the phone’s battery. Creative cooling solutions that do not use power are strongly encouraged. In the questions below the choice of a specific set of phone types and a specific high-processor-use application are intended to provide a defined internal heat load for calculation purposes, not to limit the brands or styles of smartphones that the cooling solution would be applicable to, or the types of processing that the cooling solution could enable.

Responses to this RFI should answer all of the following questions:

  1. Clearly describe the technical basis of the proposed cooling solution. Please include a block diagram or notional sketch.
  2. Describe how the proposed solution would couple to the mobile device.
  3. Using the proposed solution approach, describe the size and weight of the device necessary to cool a mobile phone such as the Moto G5 Plus or Samsung Galaxy S8+ while running an application over the cellular network that utilizes consistent network bandwidth at data rates of at least 1.5Mbps and placed in a 170 degree Fahrenheit environment for 8 hours without causing the phone to display an overheating warning or shut down the application.
  4. List any consumables used in or byproducts produced by the proposed cooling solutions.
  5. List any potentially hazardous materials used as reactants or produced as byproducts of the cooling device, and describe how the hazard will be contained/mitigated if the smartphone is operated in a confined space, such as a car, plane, or house.
  6. Describe whether the proposed cooling solution is a single use disposable system, or multi-use. If multi-use, describe the process to reset/recharge.

Preparation Instructions to Respondents

IARPA requests that respondents submit ideas related to this topic for use by the Government in formulating a potential program. IARPA requests that submittals briefly and clearly describe the potential approach or concept, outline critical technical issues/obstacles, describe how the approach may address those issues/obstacles and comment on the expected performance and robustness of the proposed approach. If appropriate, respondents may also choose to provide a non-proprietary rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate regarding what such approaches might require in terms of funding and other resources for one or more years. This announcement contains all of the information required to submit a response. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed.

IARPA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources from within and outside of the US. Because IARPA is interested in an integrated approach, responses from teams with complementary areas of expertise are encouraged.

Responses have the following formatting requirements:

  1. A one page cover sheet that identifies the title, organization(s), respondent's technical and administrative points of contact - including names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses of all co-authors, and clearly indicating its association with RFI-19-02;
  2. A substantive, focused, one-half page executive summary;
  3. A description (limited to 5 pages in minimum 12 point Times New Roman font, appropriate for single-sided, single-spaced 8.5 by 11 inch paper, with 1-inch margins) of the technical challenges and suggested approach(es);
  4. A list of citations (any significant claims or reports of success must be accompanied by citations);
  5. Optionally, a single overview briefing chart graphically depicting the key ideas.

Submission Instructions to Respondents

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 5 p.m., Eastern Time, on January 14. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-19-02@iarpa.gov as a PDF document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-19-02@iarpa.gov. Do not send questions with proprietary content. No telephone inquiries will be accepted.

Disclaimers and Important Notes

This is an RFI issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation. Respondents are advised that IARPA is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received, or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI.

Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Respondents are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI. IARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. It is the respondent's responsibility to ensure that the submitted material has been approved for public release by the information owner.

The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited, nor is the Government obligated to issue a solicitation based on responses received. Neither proprietary nor classified concepts or information should be included in the submittal. Input on technical aspects of the responses may be solicited by IARPA from non-Government consultants/experts who are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements.

Contracting Office Address:

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, District of Columbia 20511
United States

Primary Point of Contact:

Dr. Kristin DeWitt
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-19-02@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-19-02 OPEN

Posted Date: November 30, 2018
Responses Due: January 14, 2018

 

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) seeks information regarding highly innovative approaches to securing Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs). One area of interest is advanced materials or techniques to fully shield SCIFs from unintended radio frequency (RF), optical, magnetic, or acoustic transmissions. Second, we seek novel approaches or technologies enabling more effective and reliable technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM) to detect and monitor surveillance attacks against existing and future SCIFs. Finally, we must both detect and secure the operation of wireless devices and networks near and within sensitive areas and prevent the unauthorized entry and operation of a variety of portable electronic devices.

This request for information (RFI) is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. The following sections of this announcement
contain additional details of the scope of technical efforts of interest, along with instructions for the submission of responses.

Background & Scope

Our adversaries continue to develop advanced tools and methods to enable technical surveillance attacks against sensitive U.S. facilities and personnel. These attacks are increasingly sophisticated and
may exploit a variety of different sensors and data exfiltration paths. It is imperative that we are able to detect the operation and location of any adversarial sensors, whether concealed or hidden in plain sight,
and eliminate all possible transmission paths for exfiltration of data. This requires that all structural components of the SCIF have highly effective shielding to a broad spectrum of energy and a variety of
waveforms; it also requires that we have an advanced understanding of the ways in which adversarial sensors can be concealed and detected whether they are active or passive. We anticipate that modern
SCIFs and their surrounding facilities are likely to be constructed with smart-building management systems having both wired and wireless sensors; we must prevent such systems from leading to
additional means for data exfiltration. We also anticipate that greater use of wireless networks and portable electronic devices in and near secure areas will demand greater protection of SCIFs from a
variety of wireless exploitations. In addition, mobile communications devices and portable memory storage devices have become so ubiquitous that we seek improved means to detect the entry, presence
and use of these devices in sensitive areas where such means are not harmful to human health. Finally, given the vulnerability of computer information technology (IT) to a variety of malware and other
attacks, we anticipate blended attacks where cyber-attacks of implants on IT equipment will work in conjunction with other sensors or data exfiltration paths.

SCIFs, now and in the future, must be fully protected from RF transmission. Radio transmitters, both standalone and embedded within wireless networks, can create opportunities for surveillance when RF
(U) RFI: Securing the SCIF of the Future transmissions can pass into and out of secure areas; therefore, robust attenuation of RF and other electro-magnetic (EM) carriers is desired using techniques that may go beyond the capabilities of our current standard, certified shielded enclosures. The types of RF threats that should be considered include signals associated with wireless networking, commercial communications, extremely low power signals, spread spectrum, burst and frequency hopping transmission, various modulation formats with and without encryption, etc. In addition, we must attenuate both RF/EM and optical propagation in the windows of our secure facilities. This can present an even greater challenge; current RF window technologies sometimes over-attenuate visible light transmission. Future windows need designs that both match the shielding performance of surrounding materials and still allow at least 90% of the visible light to be transmitted. Window concepts for new construction and retrofitting proposals for windows in existing buildings, such as a window films, are both of interest.

In the future, we may explore the authorized operation of wireless networks in or near sensitive areas; it is imperative that we develop appropriate technologies and methods to both secure these networks and prevent them from being exploited. Therefore, we strongly seek advanced concepts for securing wireless networks at the physical layer in addition to encryption used at the logic and application layers.

The modern surveillance environment will also be challenged by the use of highly distributed consumer electronics both within and beyond secure perimeters; these can be vulnerable to sophisticated
adversarial attacks that are difficult to detect or intercept. Given the abundance of such signals, and as the “Internet of Things” continues to grow, we believe that automated approaches to wireless signal
detection and classification will become critical to successful monitoring and effective countermeasures in the future. The automated approaches that could be considered include machine learning for signal
detection and classification, spectrum-analysis, integration of RF signal data with building management and security systems data, etc.

Current policies greatly restrict the use of most personal portable electronic devices in secure areas; however, we seek novel means, not harmful to human health, to detect the unauthorized presence or
use of non-emitting personal electronic devices, such as thumb drives, flash drives, and other memory devices to ensure policy compliance. Incidents of bulk exfiltration of U.S. government data via portable
storage devices have been widely publicized. In addition, there is growing commercial availability of USB and other audio recording devices in a variety of household and office concealments. We must
have reliable ways to detect these devices both on personnel entering facilities and in their personal effects. Speed and ease of detection is a key factor to ensure that a screening process does not create
unreasonable delays at access control points of buildings, offices, and SCIFs. Two scenarios of interest include detecting device(s) on a person (with no health risk), and detecting device(s) within other items
such as purses, briefcases, folios, etc.

The literature offers examples of attacks against facilities where RF, optical, or acoustic energy is reflected from or directed into facilities so that the modulated energy can be analyzed for useful data.
For example, there is growing commercial availability of laser microphones with advanced capabilities that are reasonably simple to operate. Therefore, advanced countermeasures could include means to
detect and mitigate or attenuate laser beams, RF flooding or beaming, sonic beams, etc.

In summary, this RFI has multiple specific objectives; it seeks advanced approaches to greatly improve the attenuation of RF and other signal carriers propagating into and out of SCIFs and surrounding areas
and highlights windows as a significant priority. It seeks novel approaches to further secure authorized wireless networks. It seeks automated approaches to detecting, characterizing, monitoring, and
potentially countering a variety of wireless signals in a complex RF environment where many consumer devices and smart building devices may also be in operation. It seeks safe approaches to detecting
personal, portable recording and storage devices. In addition, it seeks ways to detect and mitigate energy directed against or into facility for the purpose of surveillance. Finally, this RFI welcomes new
approaches to significantly automate or improve any aspect of TSCM across the spectrum of anticipated surveillance attacks.

Responses to this RFI can address any or all of the above objectives:

  1. Describe your approach to achieving the objective(s).
  2. Quantify the improvement in your proposed approach over state-of-the-art:
    a. Your proposed approach should be suitable for standalone buildings as well as retrofit inside existing buildings
    b. For window design, improvement in RF attenuation and visible light transmission
    c. For technical surveillance detection, show improvement in both detection capability and the manpower savings.
  3. Identify all research challenges relating to the proposed approach(es).

Preparation Instructions to Respondents

IARPA requests that respondents submit ideas related to this topic for use by the Government in formulating a potential program. IARPA requests that submittals briefly and clearly describe the potential approach or concept, outline critical technical issues/obstacles, describe how the approach may address those issues/obstacles and comment on the expected performance and robustness of the
proposed approach. If appropriate, respondents may also choose to provide a non-proprietary rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate regarding what such approaches might require in terms of funding
and other resources for one or more years. This announcement contains all of the information required to submit a response. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed.

IARPA welcomes responses from all capable and qualified sources from within and outside of the U.S.

Because IARPA is interested in an integrated approach, responses from teams with complementary areas of expertise are encouraged.

Responses must meet the following formatting requirements:

  1. A one page cover sheet that identifies the title, organization(s), respondent's technical and administrative points of contact - including names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses of all co-authors, and clearly indicating its association with RFI-19-03;
  2. A substantive, focused, one-half page executive summary
  3. A description (limited to 5 pages in minimum 12 point Times New Roman font, appropriate for single-sided, single-spaced 8.5 by 11 inch paper, with 1-inch margins) of the technical challenges and suggested approach(es);
  4. A list of citations (any significant claims or reports of success must be accompanied by citations);
  5. Optionally, a single overview briefing chart graphically depicting the key ideas. 

Submission Instructions to Respondents

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time, 31 December, 2018. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-19-03@iarpa.gov as a PDF document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-19-03@iarpa.gov. Do not send questions with proprietary content. No telephone inquiries will be accepted.

Disclaimers and Important Notes

This is an RFI issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation. Respondents are advised that IARPA is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received, or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI. Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Respondents are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI. IARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. It is the respondent's responsibility to ensure that the submitted material has been approved for public release by the information owner. The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited, nor is the Government obligated to issue a solicitation based on responses received. No proprietary and no classified concepts or information shall be included in the submittal. However, should a respondent wish to submit classified concepts or information, prior coordination must be made with the IARPA Chief of Security. Email the Primary Point of Contact with a request for coordination with the IARPA Chief of Security. Input on technical aspects of the responses may be solicited by IARPA from non-Government consultants/experts who are bound by appropriate
non-disclosure requirements.

Contracting Office Address:

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, District of Columbia 20511
United States

Primary Point of Contact:

Mr. Manfai Fong
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-19-03@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-19-03  OPEN

Posted Date: November 1, 2018
Responses Due: December 31, 2018

 

 

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on research efforts in the area of innovative, new computer hardware and software architectures with intelligent computer environments. This request for information (RFI) is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; it does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. The following sections of this announcement contain details on the scope of technical efforts of interest, along with instructions for the submission of responses.

Background & Scope

Future computing systems (FCS) should be a revolutionary class of advanced computers with both a new highly-capable architecture and an intelligent computational environment that “understands” its own state (as well as natural input commands), learns new concepts (which are then codified into knowledge), and uses this knowledge to skillfully deliver directed goals. FCS should enable users to focus on (rather than be distracted from) their applications, and to assist (rather than hinder) them in achieving their goals.

Over the past 60 years, computers have become orders-of-magnitude faster and both more complex and more diverse, but the computational model (i.e., the model for how algorithms/computations are executed) has not substantially changed. Consequently, the demands on users for system expertise have escalated to prohibitive levels. Concurrently, the need for real-time (or near-real-time) analysis of massive amounts of heterogeneous data in this new era of explosive data growth has dramatically broadened the application space for advanced computers beyond conventional HPC applications and has compounded the need for ever-increasing computer capacity, capability, efficiencies, and agility. The current volume and variety of data are already beginning to exceed the ability of today’s most advanced classical systems to deliver optimal solutions.

The time is long overdue for redesigning computers to be smarter and more self-sufficient, while continuing to deliver increasing performance to meet escalating demands. Computers need to be “intelligent systems” capable of assisting humans and other computers in executing extremely complex and data-intensive tasks, as well as of monitoring and maintaining their own operation. Such systems must be able to assist users in solving not only problems critical to national security and economic prosperity but also equally those that characterize all aspects of modern life.

To accomplish these goals, FCS should have three important new aspects: 1) a knowledge base/inference engine of cognitive and computer system management functions that is integral to system operation at all levels, 2) a machine learning capability that is integrated with the knowledge base to provide a unified “informed learning system” (i.e., the knowledge base guides learning and the newly learned concepts are then codified and incorporated into the knowledge base, and 3) a system design that enables efficient execution of these capabilities while minimizing “time to solution.” To ensure that the learned knowledge is correct and appropriate, the system for generating and growing the knowledge base system should include a monitoring subsystem that involves human oversight. The cognitive/management component is a key new feature that must provide comprehensive system-wide capabilities intrinsic and integral to system operation at every level to preclude the system from being blind-sided by partial knowledge or oversights.

An essential capability of FCS is understanding, i.e., an ability to reason and learn from “experience” so that the system improves its knowledge base, which is then used to understand and improve its computational environment. Reasoning and learning can be highly compute and memory-intensive. FCS must therefore be carefully designed and constructed to execute reasoning/learning algorithms efficiently and transparently, not only without impeding execution of the target application, but while simultaneously providing increased capacity, capability, agility and decreasing response times for a representative range of data and compute-intensive applications. It is anticipated that the initial versions of FCS will be limited to specific problem domains that include the self-management of the computer and of the development and execution of optimized applications (plus additional areas that aid problem/data analysis). However, these initial versions must enable future inclusion of natural input modules and other, more advanced application-development and problem-solving subsystems.

The analysis of massive and diverse data sets requires the ability to efficiently execute algorithms for irregular data structures such as dynamic graph problems. FCS should be a class of advanced computer architectures that does for irregular time-varying data structures what classical high performance (HPC) systems have done for vectors and matrices throughout the previous six decades. Accelerated processing for such data structures should dramatically increase the performance for informatics computation and applications, including machine learning, data analytics, machine intelligence, and knowledge management. It should also improve dynamic numeric applications such as adaptive mesh refinement, particle in cell, and N-body problems critical to system modeling, materials, micro-biology, climate, chemical engineering, and manufacturing.

FCS should reduce the footprint and increase energy efficiency by several orders of magnitude over conventional platforms. The system configuration must be able to scale from desk-side systems to massive data centers. FCS must also maintain and advance the computational capabilities of the current generation of computer systems, and must have extensive methods of fault tolerance, security, and operational safety.

FCS should be transformative in their computing model and architecture structure (proposed architectures may be heterogeneous or homogeneous). This RFI does not include research on new materials, new fabrication technologies, and neuromorphic or quantum computers, but promising results from any of these areas may be included as part of the proposed FCS architecture if sufficient justification of their maturity is provided. The systems should also eliminate the communication barriers imposed by von Neumann architectures (and their derivatives) for superior throughput, operation, utilization of resources, and algorithmic performance. It is necessary to lay the foundations now for a revolutionary change in the design and usage of future computers that will shift software and hardware architectures from their current focus on compute-intensive only to include data-intensive and, most importantly, intelligence – through knowledge and learning – as integral to the system.

We seek responses to this RFI that provide a technical description of system architectures that enable the capacity and capabilities described in this RFI and that identify the required hardware- and softwareenabling technologies. Responders must demonstrate expertise and experience in both computing architectures (hardware and software) and AI systems (knowledge base and machine learning technologies). The eventual goal is to build high performance computing systems in the future that address the above-stated challenges. In October 2015, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) proposed “A Nanotechnology-Inspired Grand Challenge for Future Computing.” It is likely FCS will utilize 3 some of the technologies that result from the OSTP effort and other efforts that develop additional enabling technologies. One of the purposes of this RFI is to initiate discussions concerning the system hardware and software architecture for future computer systems.

Responses to this RFI should answer any or all of the following questions:

  1. Is it possible to develop a computer system that provides the above-described features of FCS within the next 20 years? Specifically, what is the design of the system capability, “understanding”; what is the computational model for FCS; and what hardware and software innovations are required to achieve the FCS challenges? What are the barriers that must be overcome?
  2. What is the time frame for the development of an FCS and what is the timeline for its development? The timeline should include a reasonable R&D path for the development of an FCS that leads to the required hardware and software technologies.
  3. What are the approximate power and environmental specifications for the FCS?
  4. What proxy applications, benchmarks and metrics can be used to drive the development of the FCS?

Preparation Instructions to Respondents

IARPA requests that respondents submit ideas related to this topic for use by the Government in formulating a potential program. IARPA requests that submittals briefly and clearly describe the potential approach or concept, outline critical technical issues/obstacles, describe how the approach may address those issues/obstacles and comment on the expected performance and robustness of the proposed approach. If appropriate, respondents may also choose to provide a non-proprietary rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate regarding what such approaches might require in terms of funding and other resources for one or more years. This announcement contains all of the information required to submit a response. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed.

IARPA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources from within and outside of the US. Because IARPA is interested in an integrated approach, responses from teams with complementary areas of expertise are encouraged.

Responses have the following formatting requirements:

  1. A one page cover sheet that identifies the title, organization(s), respondent's technical and administrative points of contact - including names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses of all co-authors, and clearly indicating its association with RFI-19-01;
  2. A substantive, focused, one-half page executive summary;
  3. A description (limited to 10 or fewer pages in minimum 12 point Times New Roman font, appropriate for single-sided, single-spaced 8.5 by 11 inch paper, with 1-inch margins) of the technical challenges and suggested approach(es);
  4. A list of citations (any significant claims or reports of success must be accompanied by citations);
  5. Optionally, a single overview briefing chart graphically depicting the key ideas.

Submission Instructions to Respondents

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on January 14, 2019. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-19-01@iarpa.gov as a PDF document Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-19-01@iarpa.gov. Do not send questions with proprietary content. No telephone inquiries will be accepted.

Disclaimers and Important Notes

This is an RFI issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation. Respondents are advised that IARPA is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received, or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI.

Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Respondents are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI. IARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. It is the respondent's responsibility to ensure that the submitted material has been approved for public release by the information owner.

The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited, nor is the Government obligated to issue a solicitation based on responses received. Neither proprietary nor classified concepts nor information should be included in the submittal. Input on technical aspects of the responses may be solicited by IARPA from non-Government consultants/experts who are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements.

Contracting Office Address:

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, District of Columbia 20511
United States

Primary Point of Contact:

Bill Harrod
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-19-01@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-19-01  OPEN

Posted Date: October 17, 2018
Responses Due: January 14, 2019

 

 

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is seeking information on research efforts into components and capabilities for ultra-low-power chemical sensing devices: collection systems, separation systems, detection/identification, vacuum systems, and power systems. This Request for Information  is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. The following sections of this announcement contain details of the scope of technical efforts of interest, along with instructions for the submission of responses.

Background & Scope

Chemical sensing is a priority for the Intelligence Community. Applications include forensic analysis, border/facility protection, and stockpile/production monitoring. In particular, the IC has an interest in the long term monitoring of a chemical environment without human oversight. The technology necessary for local and continuous monitoring of this type must provide high sensitivity and accuracy, be robust in the presence of complex chemical mixtures, and be contained in a small, ruggedized package with autonomous operation. Current technology falls short of meeting all of these requirements. The Molecular Analyzer for Efficient Gas-Phase Low-power INterrogation program seeks to address these issues.

In MAEGLIN Phase 1 (IARPA-BAA-16-01), IARPA funded three separate Thrust Areas to develop the component technologies that will enable an integrated prototype in Phase 2 of the program (IARPABAA- 18-04, expected release in June 2018). Each Thrust Area was structured with specific metrics independent of the others.

  • Collection – Low-power, reversible gas phase collection/storage/release technology.
  • Separation – Low-power, non-destructive separation of chemical mixtures with a broad concentration range, potentially including the ability to “bleed off” all or part of the collected sample if desired. System will use minimal (preferably no) consumables.
  • Identification – Low-power, high-accuracy identification of chemicals as pure compounds or low-count mixtures with a large library. System will use minimal (preferably no) consumables.

MAEGLIN Phase 1 did not include research into vacuum or power systems. These areas will be of significant importance, however, in meeting the Phase 2 metrics.

MAEGLIN Phase 2 will demonstrate integrated prototype systems in two capability tracks: Forensic Identification and Screening Identification.

The Forensic Identification track seeks solutions that will be able to collect target and related chemicals at concentrations potentially several orders of magnitude lower than the ambient chemical background, separate these chemicals from interferents, and perform a full analysis of the complex mixture with positive identification of a broad range of species. An interferent is any chemical with similar physical or spectral properties to the target chemicals and is known to be false alarm triggers. The ability to screen for multiple chemical targets will allow for analysis of subtle changes in the overall chemical effluent from monitored locations – especially when there are several possible target molecules, or when the target molecules themselves have vapor pressures too low to be detected in gas phase effluent, so their presence must be inferred by the presence of a cocktail of precursors, decomposition products, and ancillary production chemicals. Forensic Identification systems will also be able to provide a spectrum or other distinctive signature modality for all detected compounds that would allow automated detection of the presence of a compound not in the system library (true unknown), and allow a trained scientist to evaluate the recorded spectrum or signature modality offline for probable determination of the identity of the unknown compound.

The Screening Identification track seeks solutions that will be able to collect a moderately complex chemical mixture, screen out common background materials and interferents, and provide an automated identification of the presence of a target compound that is in the system’s library of chemical targets. Screening Identification systems must have a high probability of detection for target chemicals, and a low false alarm rate in the presence of common interferents such as hydrocarbons. These systems will not be required to detect the presence of a true unknown, or provide a signature modality that is fundamentally distinctive for all possible chemical targets.

MAEGLIN Phase 2 will be a separate, fully open solicitation distinct from MAEGLIN Phase 1. Participation in MAEGLIN Phase 1 as a prime or subcontractor will not be a requirement for participation in Phase 2. Additionally, component technology approaches of interest in MAEGLIN Phase 2 will not be limited to the approaches funded in MAEGLIN Phase 1. All technology approaches that can meet the overall system metrics are of interest in MAEGLIN Phase 2. Because MAEGLIN Phase 2 is an integration phase culminating in a prototype demonstration, it is expected that the majority of the component technology proposed for Phase 2 will have been developed past the Proof of Concept stage either through funding in MAEGLIN Phase 1, or through similar levels of development via private funding or funding by other government development efforts. However, it is expected that additional development and refinement of component technology will be undertaken as part of the overall Phase 2 system development.

Additional information on MAEGLIN Phase 2 can be found on the IARPA website, where briefing charts from and a video of the MAEGLIN Phase 2 Proposers’ Day are posted: https://www.iarpa.gov/index.php/research-programs/maeglin/maeglin-phase-2.

A draft Broad Agency Announcement for MAEGLIN Phase 2 is also posted at: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=dcabbcf4cedf99e62c0c35485429b1b3.

The goal of this RFI is to gather information about component level technology that has been developed inside and outside of the MAEGLIN Phase 1 efforts and to share that information with those interested in submitting proposals for MAEGLIN Phase 2 to facilitate teaming and overall creativity of system approaches.

Description of Use

The information gathered from this RFI will be used in a data package that will be made available to those who 1.) respond to this RFI or 2.) register on IDEAS for the MAEGLIN Phase 2 BAA. Additionally, RFI information will be shared with IARPA’s MAEGLIN mission partners to help them evaluate the current state of the art in components for compact, ultra-low-power chemical sensing systems. Please do not submit any responses that include proprietary or classified information.

This is similar to a data package summarizing the MAEGLIN Phase 1 system performance and Government testbed used to validate this performance that will also be provided to the same distribution list.

Requested Information

IARPA is interested in current, state-of-the-art capabilities in compact, ultra-low-power chemical sensing technology on a component level. The technology does not need to be commercially available; research level innovation that could be incorporated into an integrated prototype if of particular interest. It is expected that the technology described in responses to this RFI will fall into one or more of the following categories.

  • Collection
  • Separation
  • Detection/Identification
  • Power systems
  • Vacuum systems

All responses to this RFI should address the following points, regardless of category:

  1. Please give a brief overview of your technology.
  2. What is new and innovative in this approach, compared to the current state of the art?
  3. What is the current status of your research?
  4. What is the estimated lifetime of your technology? Is this calculated or experimentally determined?
  5. Please provide any figures/images that you feel represent your research well. This can include schematics, photographs, data, etc. Please provide descriptive captions for the figures.

Responses to the Collection category should address the following points:

  1. What is the size and weight of your technology? How far could this be modified with further research?
  2. What is the current and theoretical power consumption for your technology?
  3. What is the loading efficiency of your material (mass or moles of material and substrate)?
  4. What is the active material? How many grams of material do you currently use? How variable is this?
  5. What is the substrate material? How many grams of material do you currently use? How variable is this?
  6. What is the collected/desorbed amount (ppb/time)?
  7. What biases does your technology have? (i.e. mass, humidity, polarity, etc.)
  8. What volume of gas does your technology require to deliver a chemical bolus to separation/identification system?
  9. How does your technology handle humidity and particulates that may be introduced?
  10. Does your technology have the capability, in addition to gas collection, to collect aerosol, liquid, or solid samples?

Responses to the Separation category should address the following points:

  1. What is the size and weight of your technology? How far could this be modified with further research?
  2. What is the current and theoretical power consumption of your technology?
  3. What is the optimal carrier gas and flow rate for your technology?
  4. How many theoretical plates do you calculate for your technology? Or if theoretical plates are not a valid separation capability metric for your technology, please provide an alternative metric and your capability against it.
  5. What is the Kovats retention index for your technology? What are the retention times for select compounds?
  6. What stationary phase(s) do you currently use? What is the selectivity of your technology? What chemical types are separable?
  7. What is the pressure drop of your technology?
  8. What is the peak resolution of your technology?
  9. What is the thermal stability of your technology?
  10. What biases does your technology have? (i.e. mass, polarity, carryover, etc.)

Responses to the Detection/Identification category should address the following points:

  1. What is the size and weight of your technology? How far could this be modified with further research?
  2. What is the current and theoretical power consumption of your technology?
  3. What mass range or general molecular complexity is your technology capable of detecting?
  4. If you require a carrier gas, what is the preferred one? Are other options a possibility and what adjustments would be required?
  5. Does your technology have identification capability?
  6. What is the Limit of Detection and Limit of Identification?
  7. What are the vacuum requirements (if any) for your technology?
  8. For mass spectrometry approaches – what is your mass resolution? For other approaches, what metric do you use to define chemical complexity, and using that metric what types of chemicals can your approach detect or identify?
  9. Please explain the chemical identification and search algorithms you currently employ. What are the computer requirements and processing time?
  10. What modifications could be made to your technology to reduce power, size, and weight when integrated with other components?

Responses to the Power Systems category should address the following points:

  1. What is the size and weight of your technology? How far could this be modified with further research?
  2. What form factor is your technology? Is this customizable and how so?
  3. What voltage, current, peak and average power is your system capable of? How could these values be improved upon with additional research?
  4. What materials does your technology utilize?
  5. How robust is your power systems technology to platform motion? To temperature variances?

Responses to the Vacuum Systems category should address the following points:

  1. What is the size and weight of your technology? How far could this be modified with further research?
  2. What is the current and theoretical (future, with modification(s) proposed in item (1)) power consumption of your technology?
  3. What vacuum pressure can your technology achieve? How far could this be improved with additional research?
  4. How quickly can your technology pump down to 50% of its ultimate vacuum pressure? To 90%? To 100%?
  5. How robust is your vacuum technology to platform motion? To temperature variances?

If a respondent has a technology approach that could bridge one or more of these listed categories, or eliminate one of the expected subsystems in an overall integrated system, respondents should present these approaches at the subsystem level. Notional examples include a combined collector and separator, or a collector and analyzer combination that does not need a separator. Responses discussing creative subsystem approaches, beyond just the approaches funded in MAEGLIN Phase 1, are encouraged. If any of notional metrics listed in each of the categories above does not apply to your novel approach, please provide alternative/substitute metrics that numerically describe performance capabilities.

While responses to every point are not necessary, they are encouraged. The purpose of this RFI is to promote teaming possibilities between qualified sources towards the goal of an integrated prototype in MAEGLIN Phase 2.

Preparation Instructions to Respondents

IARPA requests that respondents submit responses for use by the Government in formulating a data package to be distributed to those who 1.) respond to this RFI or 2.) register on IDEAS for the MAEGLIN Phase 2 BAA. IARPA requests that submittals briefly and clearly describe the technological concept and current approach, outline critical issues/obstacles, and describe how the approach may address those issues/obstacles with further research. If appropriate, respondents may also choose to provide a nonproprietary rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate regarding what such approaches might require in terms of funding and other resources for one or more years. This announcement contains all of the information required to submit a response. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed.

IARPA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources from within and outside of the US. Because IARPA is interested in integrated prototype resulting from component technology, responses from teams with complementary areas of expertise are welcome.

Responses have the following formatting requirements:

  • A one page cover letter that identifies the title, organization(s), respondent’s technical and administrative points of contact – including names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses of all co-authors, and clearly indicating its association with RFI-18-04;
  • A substantive, focused, one-half page executive summary;
  • A description of the technology that answers any/all of the questions listed in the previous section of this RFI (limited to 5 pages, 11 point font, single-sided, single-spaced, 8.5x11 inch paper, with 1 inch margins);
  • Schematics, photographs, and other relevant images as described in the previous section of this RFI, including captions (limited of 5 images);
  • A list of relevant citations;
  • Optionally, a single overview briefing chart graphically depicting the key technological innovation.

Submission Instructions to Respondents

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 5 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, on June 1, 2018. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-18-04@iarpa.gov as a Word document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-18-04@iarpa.gov. Do not send questions with proprietary or classified content.

Disclaimers and Important Notes

This is an RFI issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation. Respondents are advised that IARPA is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received, or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI.

Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Respondents are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI. IARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. It is the respondent’s responsibility to ensure that the submitted material has been approved for public release by the information owner.

The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited, nor is the Government obligated to issue a solicitation based on responses received. Neither proprietary nor classified concepts or information should be included in the submittal. Input on technical aspects of the responses may be solicited by IARPA from non-Government consultants/experts who are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements.

Contracting Office Address:

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, District of Columbia 20511
United States

Primary Point of Contact:

Kristy DeWitt
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-18-04@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-18-04  CLOSED

Posted Date: May 11, 2018
Responses Due: June 1, 2018