The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on research efforts in the area of detection of special nuclear material (SNM). 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

Radiation emission serves as a signature for the possible presence of SNM. At present, land-based detection of SNM, and other radioactive sources in commerce, is primarily performed by radiation portal monitors (RPMs). These RPMs are positioned at chokepoints such as border crossings, entrances to facilities, or other areas of interest. For roadside applications, RPMs are generally positioned close to traffic lanes so that individual vehicles can be measured while moving at slow speeds in order to maximize detection sensitivity. In some circumstances, there is the need to perform radiation measurements of vehicles along open roadways without impeding the flow of traffic. In these cases, it is necessary to position detectors farther from traffic lanes and to have sufficient sensitivity to measure vehicles moving at highway speeds.

IARPA is interested in novel, innovative, state-of-the-art (SOTA) capabilities in compact, highly sensitive detectors of SNM for a range of applications. Responses to this RFI can describe both existing detectors and concepts for future detectors. Existing applications or areas of interest to IARPA include, but are not limited to:

  • Radiation detection along open roads with vehicles moving at highway speeds
  • Cargo inspection at ports of entry
  • Detection of SNM radiation sources in urban environments

This RFI seeks approaches to the detection and characterization/identification of SNM that are:

  • Highly sensitive (able of detecting at a minimum, Significant Quantities of SNM)
  • Highly compact
  • Inherently ruggedizable (robust against vibration, temperature variations, shock, etc.)
  • Low power

Responses to this RFI should quantitatively address any or all of the following:

Detection Principles
    1. What is the scientific principle that enables your detector?
    2. What are the assumptions that go in to your detector design?
    3. What are the current and theoretical sensitivity limits of your detector?
    4. Does the scientific principle underlying your detector inherently provide directional information? If not, how is directionality estimated and how does directionality affect the sensitivity limits described in question 3? In your answer, please discuss individual sources of error and propagation of uncertainty.
    5. If applicable, what is the imaging resolution associated with your technique? If the resolution is variable, how is detector sensitivity related to resolution?
    6. How does your detector enable the discrimination among sources of radiation, especially SNM sources?
    7. Can you quantify your detector's probability of detection versus distance? Provide the methodology used to render this estimate.
    8. Discuss the effects of shielding of the SNM on your detector. What are your assumptions as to what shielding is of interest?
    9. In your responses, please also include impacts of the external environment on your sensor’s performance (e.g., earth’s background radiation, ubiquitous noise sources, etc.).
Physical Properties
    1. Minimizing size and weight are key considerations. What are the current and lower theoretical limits on the size/weight of your detector? (Please include active detection volume and all supporting hardware in your estimates)
    2. Describe any consumables required by your detector and the rate of consumption of each.
    3. What are the present power requirements for your detector? What are the lower theoretical limit on that power requirement?
    4. Describe your detector’s power management capabilities, to include quiescent and active current measurements, and identify any known transient current draws.
    5. Is your detector technology inherently rugged and man-portable? Does your detector meet any existing Military Specifications (e.g., MIL-STD-810-F)? If so, please identify the standard and any testing methods used. If your technology is not inherently rugged, please describe approaches to ruggedizing it for uses outside the laboratory.
    6. Describe your detector’s operating condition limits with respect to external temperature and pressure or other applicable limiting environmental parameters.
    7. Describe the internal operating conditions of your detector. For example, list the operating temperature and pressure, the internal voltage and current, and other relevant parameters.
    8. Does your sensor design lend itself to array configurations? If so, what are the maximum spacing requirements between detectors so that individual element measurements are optimized?
Data management
  1. What data standard does your system use (e.g., ANSI/IEEE N42.42)?
  2. What are the data processing and storage requirements for your detector? What type of data processing is required for on-board analysis of the collected data?
  3. Discuss the system’s computational and communication architecture (describe data rates). If cloud resources are needed, please explain.
  4. Do you anticipate using proprietary algorithms and/or software? Please explain.

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-18-01;
      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 Standard Time, on 18 December 2017. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-18-01@iarpa.gov as a PDF document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-18-01@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 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. Merrick DeWitt
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-18-01@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-18-01  CLOSED

Posted Date: November 20, 2017
Responses Due: December 18, 2017

 

 

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on the use of nanopore sequencing for human identification and/or environmental pathogen characterization. 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

DNA sequencing may be used to identify individuals for forensic or investigative purposes and to characterize organisms of concern, such as viruses and bacteria, for biosurveillance and biosecurity applications. While many next-generation sequencing methods are not feasible for field use, nanoporebased sequencing possesses desirable characteristics including label-free sample preparation, lower DNA quantity requirements, and the capacity for technology miniaturization. Long sequence reads of at least 50 kb generated by nanopore sequencing also allow for the resolution of complex or large loci for genotyping and profiling analysis. IARPA is interested in exploring nanopore-based approaches for DNA sequencing that include both benchtop and hand-held “sample-to-answer” device solutions for DNAbased identification and characterization. Specific areas of interest include:

  • Methods for preparation of unknown human or environmental samples for nanopore-based sequencing of specific loci
  • Multiplexed assays based on short tandem repeats (STR), single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), or other analysis type for accurate human identification and pathogen characterization
  • Methods to reduce nanopore sequencing base-calling error rates, such as machine learning, advanced statistical analyses, and modeling
  • Functionalization or modification of nanopores to optimize characteristics and performance for DNA profiling or pathogen characterization applications
  • Approaches for processing and analyzing raw sequence data for human identification and pathogen characterization (e.g., taxonomy, drug/treatment susceptibility, virulence, source attribution)
  • Approaches for processing and analyzing modified nucleobases, nucleobase analogues, and unnatural nucleobases

Responses to this RFI may address any or all of the following questions:

  1. Compare and contrast the leading approaches and assays for human identification based on STR or SNP analysis. Are commercially available kits amenable or convertible to nanopore-based systems?
  2. What standards would be required to enable practical use of nanopore sequencing for STR- or SNPbased DNA profiling? What challenges exist toward developing such standards?
  3. Compare and contrast the leading approaches and assays for pathogen characterization based on nucleic acid sequencing and analysis. Are there other approaches currently under development?
  4. How can sample preparation steps, sequencing, and a data processing pipeline be integrated most effectively for a field-appropriate workflow? Consider scenarios in which cloud-based software or databases may not be accessible.
  5. What are the advantages and disadvantages of biological, solid-state, and hybrid nanopores for the described field-based applications? What are the tradeoffs of 1D and 2D sequencing for this application?
  6. What types of features in DNA sequences create challenges for accurate reads? What methods and approaches can reduce nanopore sequencing base-calling error rates? How might these methods be incorporated into workflows in the requested application space?
  7. How can nanopore functionalization be used to improve sequencing accuracy or be used for pathogen characterization?

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-17-06;
  2. A substantive, focused, one-half page executive summary;
  3. A description (limited to 6 pages in minimum 11 point Times New Roman font, appropriate for singlesided, 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 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on 22 September 2017. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-17-06@iarpa.gov as a PDF document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-17-06@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 Julias
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-17-06@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-17-06  CLOSED

Posted Date: August 09, 2017
Responses Due: September 22, 2017

 

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on research efforts in the area of sensitive, compact magnetometers. 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

Compact, sensitive magnetometers can enable or enhance the capabilities of a number of critical needs ranging from nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI) to precision navigation without GPS. Superconducting Quantum Interferences Devices (SQUIDs) can detect single flux quanta but the cooling requirements for the superconducting materials in the Josephson junctions at the heart of SQUIDs limit their usefulness for many applications. Alternatively, Optically Detected Magnetic Resonance (ODMR) devices do not require cooling and can therefore be extremely compact with sensitivities approaching those of SQUIDs. In addition, some ODMR devices can provide a high-bandwidth and direct measurement of the vector field (as opposed to forming vectors from multiple independent scalar measurements).

IARPA is interested in current state-of-the-art (SOTA) capabilities in compact, highly sensitive magnetometry for a range of applications. Responses to this RFI can describe both existing and planned detector concepts. Existing applications or areas of interest to IARPA include, but are not limited to:

  • NMRI
  • Nanometer-scale NMRI
  • Detection of biological magnetic signals including, for instance, from the brain and heart
  • Magnetic field gradiometry for navigation and forensics

This RFI seeks approaches to magnetometry that are:

  • Highly sensitive (approaching the single-flux quanta level)
  • Highly compact (suitable for manufacturing in arrays)
  • Inherently ruggedizable (robust against vibration, temperature shifts, shock, etc.)
  • Low power

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

  1. What is the scientific principle that enables your magnetometer?
  2. What are the current and theoretical sensitivity limits of your detector?
  3. What is the dynamic range associated with your quoted sensitivities?
  4. Quantitatively address the precision of both field-magnitude-sensing and field-direction sensing. If field-direction sensing is accomplished via multiple field-magnitude measurements along different axes please discuss individual measurement uncertainties and propagation of uncertainties to the final vector measurement determination.
  5. What are the current and upper theoretical limits to detector bandwidth for your detector?
  6. Over what frequency range does your detector function? Can it simultaneously collect high SNR data over the entire bandwidth? In other words, does your detector average signals over frequency bandwidth of interest, or does it return an entire spectrum? Discuss resolution and SNR
  7. Does the scientific principle underlying your detector inherently provide vector information? If not, how are vectors formed and how does vector formation affect the sensitivity limits described in question 2? In your answer discuss individual sources of error and propagation of uncertainty.
  8. What is the spatial resolution associated with your technique? If spatial resolution is variable, how is detector sensitivity related to spatial resolution?
  9. What are the current and lower theoretical limits on the size of your detector?
  10. Quantify your detector's required standoff distance from a magnetic source.
  11. What are the current and lower theoretical limits on power requirements for your detector?
  12. Is your detector technology inherently rugged and portable? Please explain. If your technology is not inherently rugged, please describe approaches to ruggedizing your technology for uses outside the laboratory.
  13. In your responses, please also include impacts of the external environment on your sensor’s performance (e.g., earth’s magnetic field, ubiquitous noise sources, etc.). Please also discuss how detector size impacts detection (i.e., do magnetic field gradients impact your sensitivity due to detector size?).
  14. Finally, how does your sensor design impact its use in arrays? What are the minimum spacing requirements between detectors so that individual element measurements are not compromised?

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-17-07;
  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 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 August 25, 2017. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-17-07@iarpa.gov as a PDF document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-17-07@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. Merrick DeWitt
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-17-07@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-17-07  CLOSED

Posted Date: August 08, 2017
Responses Due: August 25, 2017

 

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) wishes to determine if there is interest among large U.S. owned infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers in new technologies and techniques to enable the most sensitive computing workloads to be executed on a public cloud. For the purposes of this RFI, large U.S. owned IaaS providers are defined as those U.S. owned entities that have multiple data centers located both in the U.S. and throughout the world that provide services similar to IaaS to the general public. Classified as a Service (ClaaS) is an IARPA concept that imagines a classified private enclave encompassing multiple public cloud nodes in multiple locations to accommodate general-purpose, classified workloads elastically based on demand. The objective is to accomplish this by replicating as closely as possible the properties of current air-gapped private enclaves within the public cloud for finite periods of time. This request for information (RFI) is issued for information gathering and resource planning purposes; Positive responses to this RFI may be used to determine which IaaS cloud providers are considered for potential partnerships with IARPA in future ClaaS research efforts. 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

The cost of maintaining and procuring private infrastructure for classified/sensitive workloads for the government continues to get increasingly more expensive compared to the cost of leveraging commercial cloud resources. This disparity may increase exponentially over the next decade. Existing IaaS offerings require customers to trust the software stack and employees of the cloud provider and are subject to numerous potential side-channel attacks due to shared resources. This is not acceptable to customers with the most sensitive data processing needs. A promising new cloud service that ClaaS could leverage is starting to appear within commercial clouds. This service referred to as bare metal as a service (MaaS) offers exclusive use of a cloud server machine for preset periods of time. Though this service eliminates the possibility of many side-channel attacks, MaaS as currently conceived still exposes customer data to the risk of exfiltration by sophisticated threats. Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) methods are being developed to perform very specific computations on untrusted platforms but require very high processing overheads and are unlikely to accommodate the entirety of the government’s classified codebase. IARPA is interested in developing new technologies and techniques that will enable public cloud operators to provide secure, classified, general purpose processing to the government in an acceptable manner while providing costs and flexibilities comparable to other public cloud customers.

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

  1. Would you be interested in participating with IARPA and its academic and commercial partners in developing technologies and techniques that might eventually lead to ClaaS offerings within your public infrastructure?
  2. How do you envision your level of participation in developing such technology?
  3. Would you be willing to evaluate or advise on technology developed under an IARPA program?
  4. Would you be willing, subject to NDAs/confidentiality agreements, to share potentially proprietary information with the IARPA program manager (PM) and/or performer teams? If not, please describe your preferred approach?
  5. How might you effectively manage a service like ClaaS where your servers are periodically owned by somebody else and isolated from the rest of your infrastructure only to be returned to your inventory for eventual use by other customers?
  6. Do you believe other customers besides the IC would be interested in this service? Which ones?

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. 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 U.S. owned 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-17-05;
  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, on 28, July 2017. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-17-05@iarpa.gov as a PDF document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-17-05@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:

Mr. Kerry Long
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-17-05@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-17-05 CLOSED

Posted Date: July 7, 2017
Responses Due: July 28, 2017

 

 

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on potential technologies and techniques to securely provide a private enclave encompassing multiple public cloud nodes to accommodate general-purpose, classified workloads elastically based on demand. The objective is to accomplish this by replicating as closely as possible the properties of an air-gapped private enclave within the public cloud for finite periods of time.

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

The cost of maintaining and procuring private infrastructure for classified/sensitive workloads for the government continues to get increasingly more expensive compared to the cost of leveraging commercial cloud resources. This disparity may increase exponentially over the next decade. There has been some initial work in the public space attempting to provide more secure computing environments in a commercial cloud. Unfortunately none of these efforts by themselves are currently a viable solution. AMD (SEV), Intel (SGX), Power and ARM processors are introducing some isolation and integrity protection solutions which can isolate certain regions of memory from being read by a general operating system but not from a complicit insider. Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) methods are being developed to perform very specific computations on untrusted platforms but require very high processing overheads and are unlikely to accommodate the entirety of the government’s classified codebase. IARPA is interested in developing new technologies and techniques that will enable public cloud owners to provide secure, classified, general purpose processing to the government in an acceptable manner while providing costs and flexibilities comparable to other public cloud customers.

Within this topic, areas of interest include:

  • Novel techniques or technologies that can aid in the provisioning of elastic, isolated cloud
    resources
  • Establishing proof of execution of multipurpose scripts on untrusted remote computer systems
  • Isolating/disabling computer input/output capabilities temporarily
  • Verification techniques to independently ensure computer I/O
  • Trusted hardware encryptor technologies that can be employed in servers with customized
    functionalities
  • Performant methods of scrubbing/obfuscating DRAM to prevent cold boot attacks
  • Protecting, ensuring, and quickly replacing server and device firmware
  • Preventing covert channel communications between two adjacent network servers
  • Secure multiparty computational, secret sharing, verifiable computing methods, etc. suitable for protecting or verifying such an environment
  • Physically uncloneable functions

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

  1. How would you construct a temporary private enclave with future public cloud nodes that could operate all of the software currently found on government classified networks and ensure no data could be leaked either by accident or maliciously?
  2. How would you test a private enclave within a public cloud to ensure that no data can leak out?
  3. How could a general purpose cloud server be configured to periodically disable and reenable all or most I/O channels?
  4. How could one be assured that all I/O paths are verifiably disabled in a server for a certain period of time independent of the server operating system?
  5. Can technologies or techniques be employed to ensure that malicious administrators cannot intercept encryption keys or communications between 2 parties even when they control one of the parties?
  6. How could a node secure or disable Server Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) services for brief periods of time?
  7. Are there potential solutions for a server to ensure memory used by a private enclave node cannot be revealed when the node is released to the public cloud or when it is seized unexpectedly (cold boot attack)?
  8. What methods could be used to ensure remote execution on a particular computer node?

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-17-04;
  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 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 19, June 2017. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-17-04@iarpa.gov as a PDF document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-17-04@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 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:

Kerry Long
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-17-04@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-17-04  CLOSED

Posted Date: May 31, 2017
Responses Due: June 19, 2017