IARPA & the BRAIN Initiative

The acronyms for the four BRAIN Initiative related IARPA programs are ICArUS. MICrONS, KRNS, and SHARP.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) invests in high-risk, high-payoff research programs to tackle some of the most difficult challenges of the agencies and disciplines in the Intelligence Community (IC). IARPA does not have an operational mission and does not deploy technologies directly to the field. Instead, IARPA facilitates the transition of research results to our IC customers for operational application.

ICArUS, an IARPA program

The focus of the Integrated Cognitive- Neuroscience Architectures for Understanding Sensemaking (ICArUS) Program is to understand and model how humans engage in the sensemaking process, both during optimal and suboptimal (biased) performance. Of particular interest are cognitive biases related to attention, memory, and decision making.

Sensemaking refers to the remarkable human ability to detect patterns in data, and to infer the underlying causes of those patterns - even when the data are sparse, noisy, and uncertain.

KRNS, an IARPA program

The goal of the Knowledge Representation in Neural Systems (KRNS) Program is to develop and rigorously evaluate theories that explain how the human brain represents conceptual knowledge.

In part the evaluation will rest on how well concepts can be interpreted from neural activity patterns using algorithms derived from the theories. In addition to new theories and algorithms, KRNS seeks the development of innovative protocols for evoking and measuring concept-related neural activity using neural imaging methods such as (but not limited to) fMRI, and MEG.

MICrONS, an IARPA program

MICrONS, Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks,seeks to revolutionize machine learning by reverse-engineering the algorithms of the brain. The program is expressly designed as a dialogue between data science and neuroscience.

Participants in the program will have the unique opportunity to pose biological questions with the greatest potential to advance theories of neural computation and obtain answers through carefully planned experimentation and data analysis.

SHARP, an IARPA program

The Strengthening Human Adaptive Reasoning and Problem-Solving (SHARP) Program is seeking to fund rigorous, high-quality research to address these limitations and advance the science on optimizing human adaptive reasoning and problem-solving.

The goal of the program is to test and validate interventions that have the potential to significantly improve these capabilities, leading to improvements in performance for high-performing adults in information-rich environments.

Jason Matheny, PhD/MBA/MPH – IARPA

Director, IARPA - Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency

Dr Matheny oversees research efforts to develop new capabilities for a range of events relevant to national security. He was also overseeing three IARPA programs: the Open Source Indicators (OSI) program, Foresight and Understanding from Scientific Exposition (FUSE) and Forecasting Science and Technology (ForeST)

William Vanderlinde, PhD – IARPA

Director, IARPA Office of Safe and Secure Operations (SSO)

Dr.Vanderlinde was an IARPA program manager from 2009 to 2012, leading the CAT and ATHENA programs. He re-joined IARPA in March 2015 as the SSO office director. Dr. Vanderlinde’s work has focused on microelectronics and advanced microscopy, with applications to supply-chain assurance and high-performance computing.

Catherine Cotell, PhD – IARPA

Director, IARPA Incisive Analysis (IA) Office

Dr. Cotell’s career has been dedicated to delivering innovative technology-based solutions to both the Intelligence Community (IC) and the Department of Defense. Dr. Cotell holds seminal patents in the field of laser deposition of biocompatible coatings for medical implants.

Rita Bush, PhD – IARPA

Acting Director, IARPA Office for Anticipating Surprise
Program Manager. ICArUS program

Dr. Bush previously served as Division Chief of the Information Exploitation (InfoX) Research Division in the Disruptive Technology Office (DTO), where she oversaw an extensive research portfolio in a variety of topics of interest to the Intelligence Community, including natural language understanding, video exploitation, collaborative work environments, social network analysis, modeling and simulation and information visualization.

Chris Reed, PhD – IARPA

Acting Director, Office of Smart Collection
Program Manager, Athena, GHO, HFGeo, SLiCE

Dr. Reed has been an IARPA program manager since 2010, managing programs and projects on diverse topics that include geolocation, electrically small antennas, and reliability of information from sensor networks. He has been involved in all development phases for systems for signals intelligence, communications, navigation, radar, and electronic warfare. He has patents in parallel computing, radar signal processing, and GPS.

Alexis Jeannotte, PhD – IARPA

Program Manager, IARPA SHARP and TRUST programs

Dr. Jeannotte held an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship in the National Securities and Global Securities at the US Department of Homeland Security. Dr Jeannotte also was a contractor supporting the government in the development and management of programs that fund research and development to meet national security needs.

R. Jacob Vogelstein

Program Manager, Office of Safe and Secure Operations, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA)
Multi-Council Working Group (staff), BRAIN Initiative

As an IARPA Program Manager, Dr. Vogelstein's areas of interest include neural computing, neuromorphic hardware, neuromimetic algorithms, brain-computer interfaces, neural prosthetics, and other topics in applied neuroscience.

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