IARPA wants old tech data

Intelligence community researchers want to put some data behind IT and other technologies' performance over the years to see how they might work out down the line.

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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."

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