Emerging Tech

IARPA wants old tech data

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The intelligence community's research arm wants to know how computers, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity gear have performed over the years to develop a dataset that could be used to peer into the future.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Project Activity on June 10, issued a request for information looking for help assembling datasets on how a list of technologies have performed from their beginnings. Some data could be over a century old, according to the document.

The premise is that by tracking the limits of performance of a given technology over time, researchers can make predictions about future performance.

IARPA references several other studies on technology that use past performance to gauge future performance. One 2006 study on the technological progress of IT built a 100-year database on data storage, transportation and transformation that was aimed at devising a longer term method to assess technological progress.

IARPA's RFI seeks data for 10 technological areas, including AI, communications, computing, cybersecurity, energy and power and space sciences.

The agency wants at least 10 years of data on the initial development of each technology. Data on specific products in the categories should begin when they were first offered for sale, according to the RFI.

A "first development" date for pre-commercial, or non-commercial technologies, it said, should originate from initial journal publication or other public disclosure of the technology.

"These are broad areas of technology that are composed of constituent technologies, which are themselves composed of systems and components," said the RFI. "It is the performance of these systems and components that can potentially be tracked and predicted in an objective and quantitative manner."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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