The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or IARPA, develops research and technology to serve the US intelligence community. In this interview, IARPA Director Jason Matheny explains how the 10-year-old agency does its work. With a modus operandi similar to the one used by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, IARPA comes up with specific problems to solve, then signs up university labs, private companies, and other institutions to carry out the research. Best known for its research programs in quantum computing and machine learning, IARPA has recently increased the amount it invests in biotechnology research. Biotechnology, cybertechnology, and artificial intelligence are the three areas of defense technology that concern Matheny most as potential threats. In this wide-ranging interview with Bulletin contributing editor Elisabeth Eaves, he also talks about the latest research on whistle-blowers, how to get the world’s best scientists working on a problem, how to predict a cyber attack, and why IARPA seems surprisingly transparent compared to intelligence agencies of yore. Read this free-access article from the subscription journal.
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