Military, intel researchers ask industry to develop intelligent computing that is 10 times faster than today

Dec. 1, 2021
AGILE seeks new computer architectures able to process, move, access, and store large data streams for the military and intelligence communities.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – U.S. military and intelligence experts are asking industry to develop new system-level intelligent computing that can process large-scale data-analytic applications at least 10 times faster than today’s multi-cabinet computer systems.

Officials of the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO) in Research Triangle Park, N.C., are working with the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) in Bethesda, Md., to release a broad agency announcement (W911NF-22-S-0001) on Monday for the Advanced Graphic Intelligence Logical computing Environment (AGILE) project.

AGILE seeks to develop new energy-efficient and reliable computer architectures able to process, move, access, and store large unfiltered time-varying data streams for the U.S. military and the intelligence community for large-scale data-analytic applications and other large problems.

Pending results of this program, IARPA and ARO may support a follow-on program to develop prototypes of the proposed architectures.

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Today’s new era of explosive data growth poses serious challenges for the U.S. military and the intelligence community in monitoring adversarial activities and predicting future adversarial actions, researchers say.

This data is increasing exponentially in volume and in velocity, variety, and complexity, and already far outpaces the abilities of current computing systems to execute the complex analytics to extract meaningful insights quickly.

The key computational problem is that today’s computers were designed to address yesterday’s compute-intensive problems rather than today’s data-intensive problems, researchers say.

Switching the massive, unstructured, heterogeneous data streams and structures into actionable knowledge could benefit from a reimagining of computing that emphasizes data movement, data storage, and access of irregular and time-varying structures.

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These kinds of future computers should be able to distil sparse, unstructured, and heterogeneous information from data that is distributed across the computer, as several different applications simultaneously access the same data.

AGILE system designs must emphasize optimizing the integrated system, rather than the independent optimization of individual functionalities like memory and computation.

Protecting data from observation and modification by unauthorized agents and concurrently running applications must be a fundamental capability of any AGILE architecture -- including hardware root of trust and encryption that can impede an adversary’s ability to obtain or modify data or software or alter the hardware or software to create backdoors or malicious circuitry. AGILE computers must be able to withstand remote hacking attempts and insider threats.

The AGILE program will be a three-year effort to develop computing architectures that are efficient and scalable when executing large-scale data analytics including streaming analytics.

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Computers also must be energy-efficient, reliable, and able to support scaling from a deskside system to large multi-cabinet configurations; be cost effective such that the price of computation should be at least equal to today’s computer systems; be secure from adversary attacks; and be realizable in silicon by 2030.

Companies interested should email 25-page proposals no later than 18 Jan. 2022 to [email protected].

Email questions or concerns to the Army's J. Michael Coyle at [email protected], or IARPA's William Harrod at [email protected]. More information is online at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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