WSU hosts DARPA Forward conference on Pullman campus

Washington State University hosted the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Forward Conference on the WSU Pullman campus on Sept. 13-14. Over the course of two days, 227 people attended the conference in-person and 300 people attended virtually from across the country.

DARPA is taking national security innovation on the road this fall with six events held at leading research and development universities nationwide. The DARPA Forward Conference series will connect DARPA leaders with new communities of talent and partnerships to energize regional and national innovation, fuel breakthroughs in national security, and help deliver the U.S. technological advantage.  WSU was second of the six planned events.

Throughout its more than 60-year history, DARPA has challenged researchers from across academia, industry, and government to create transformative solutions to national security problems. Many of these solutions also have benefited daily civilian life.

The conference kicked off with opening and welcoming remarks from WSU Provost and Pullman Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton, vice president for research at WSU and vice chancellor for research at WSU Pullman Chris Keane, and Stefanie Tompkins, director of DARPA.

Over the course of two days, participants attended poster sessions, panels, plenary sessions, networking roundtables, lightning talks, and program demonstrations. A wide range of topics were discussed, including using data to maintain vigilance, resilient power grids, quantum computing, optimizing performance related to sleep patterns, hardening supply chain networks for the future, and autonomous vehicle enhancements.

Hans Van Dongen, director of the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center, shared his research on the resilience to performance deficits from sleep loss. Mani Venkatasubramanian, Boeing Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering in the WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, also presented his research on how to design and operate future power grids in a reliable, resilient, secure, and economical fashion. Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Adam Smith and Vice Admiral Jon Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency, provide two keynote addresses on the final day of the conference. WSU President Kirk Schulz and Tompkins closed out the conference with final remarks, thanking participants for attending on the WSU Pullman campus and virtually.

Here are some highlights from the conference, and thank you to Robert Hubner and the WSU Photo Services team for the great pictures.