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Decision Support Systems: DARPA Awards DCOMP Contracts

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has made several contract awards for research project under the Dispersed Computing (DCOMP) program.

Research within the DCOMP program will produce software instantiations of algorithms and protocol stacks that leverage pervasive, physically dispersed computing platforms to boost application and network performance by orders of magnitude.

Examples of such platforms include network elements, radios, smart phones, or sensors containing or collocated with programmable execution environments; and portable micro-clouds of various form factors that are installed within structures of opportunity.

  • Vencore Labs Inc., doing business as Applied Communication Sciences, Basking Ridge, New Jersey, was awarded a $10,345,758 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract
  • BAE Systems Inc., Burlington, Massachusetts, was awarded a $9,725,094 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract
  • LGS Innovations LLC, Florham Park, New Jersey, was awarded a $7,598,477 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract

In the current art, users with significant computing requirements have typically depended on access to large, highly shared data centers to which they backhaul their data (e.g., images, video, or network log files) for processing. However, in many operational scenarios the cost and latency of this backhaul can be problematic, especially when network throughput is severely limited or when the user application requires a near real-time response.

In such cases, users’ ability to leverage taskable computing power that is available “locally” could substantially improve application performance while reducing the risk to missions.

DCOMP seeks scalable, robust decision systems that enable secure, collective tasking of computing assets in a mission-aware fashion by users with competing demands, and across large numbers of heterogeneous computing platforms. These systems must be able to operate in environments where network connectivity is highly variable and degraded.

The presence of programmable execution environments within networks raises new possibilities for instantiating dynamically programmed protocol stacks on network paths to bolster network performance from the users’ standpoint in ways that are not possible with today’s statically defined protocol logic.

DCOMP seeks revolutionary techniques that will demonstrate the value of in-network programmability, principally at the transport and application layers of the five-layer protocol stack model. Both wired and wireless networks are in scope for the program.

This contract was a competitive acquisition under an open broad agency announcement and 42 offers were received.


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