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February 23, 2007

Wired interview of Tony Tether, DARPA chief

Tony Tether, chief of Darpa, since 2001 gives information on some current technologies and ones that he sees with the biggest potential

The current technology is Wasp micro-drones that support squads. There are a couple of hundred in Iraq.

The cognitive computing program is high potential which is the new take on AI (artificial intelligence). He notes that the support troops to fighters is still 20 to 1. Most of the people are Powerpoint rangers. Stanford REsearch has the Perceptive Assistant that Learns, which has had good results. He indicates that hardware wise we will soon have human processing level hardware (via transistors or artificial neurons).

Quantum computing is big for DARPA. He says, You can get great, great parallel processing. That is something that, if somebody else got it before us, would be a great technological surprise. And so we're looking into that.

His view on open vs closed development:
But doesn't that lead to a conundrum? I'm sure you'd agree that the best science is done out in the open, right?

TT: Not always.

NS: Not always?

TT: No. I mean, I think that's the legend. But I have not found that to necessarily be the case. The best science is done when you get the best people together. That doesn't have to be in the open. What you do have to do is gather a large enough population of people with different disciplines in order to make progress

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