DARPA seeks toolset for complex adaptive systems

DARPA seeks toolset for complex adaptive systems

While dynamic and connected systems that seamlessly share complex data in real time offer great potential to government and industry alike, they are difficult to model and design with today’s tools.  But the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has set its sights on addressing challenges associated with constructing such complex systems.

The Complex Adaptive System Composition and Design Environment (CASCADE) program will not only address current shortcomings and alter the way systems are designed for real-time resilient response to dynamic environments, but it will also provide a unified view of system behavior and a formal language for complex adaptive system composition and design.

“CASCADE could help develop models that would provide civil authorities, first responders and assisting military commanders with the sequence and timing of critical actions they need to take for saving lives and restoring critical infrastructure,” said DARPA Program Manager John Paschkewitz. “In the stress following a major disaster, models that could do that would be invaluable.”

“Existing modeling and design tools invoke static ‘playbook’ concepts that don’t adequately represent the complexity of, say, an airborne system of systems with its constantly changing variables, such as enemy jamming, bad weather, or loss of one or more aircraft.”

Paschkewitz likened existing modeling and design tools to a static playbook that is unable to represent the complexity of, for example, airborne systems that must manage rapidly changing variables in contested environments. 

In addition to improving warfighting systems, CASCADE’s research could help improve activities such as forward-deployed medical care, by ensuring that the components involving “surgeons, helicopters, communication networks, transportation, time, and blood supply ... are accurately modeled and understood,” Paschkewitz said.

DARPA is looking for expertise from industry in:

  • Applied mathematics, especially in category theory, algebraic geometry and topology, and sheaf theory.
  • Operations research, control theory and planning, especially in stochastic and non-linear control.
  • Modeling and applications responsive to challenges in battlefield medicine logistics and platforms, adaptive logistics, reliability and maintenance.
  • Search and rescue platforms and modeling.
  • Adaptive and resilient urban infrastructure.

The CASCADE proposer’s day is scheduled for Dec. 9. 

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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