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DARPA Microsystems Technology Office – Forward-Looking Experimentation (FLEX) – DARPA-RA-23-02

Home / Funding Opportunity / DARPA Microsystems Technology Office – Forward-Looking Experimentation (FLEX) – DARPA-RA-23-02

DARPA Microsystems Technology Office – Forward-Looking Experimentation (FLEX) – DARPA-RA-23-02


DARPA is seeking fundamental research proposals for disruptive ideas in ICT addressing the grand challenges for a data-driven future.   The goal of FLEX is to identify the direction and timing of key disruptive advances in ICT, accelerate technology exploration and generate intellectual property, develop next-generation researchers for the US workforce, and build the foundation for future research programs.

Funding of USD$250,000 is available for a 12 month base period project.  If appropriate, an additional USD$250,000, 12 month optional phase may be proposed.

Topic Areas

  • Cognition  – going beyond traditional deep learning to successfully build machine intelligent systems with both cognitive and autonomous characteristics. This theme aims to enable the next generation of collaborative human-AI systems through synergistic advances in algorithms, hardware motifs, algorithm-hardware co-design, and collective and collaborative intelligence.


  • Communications and Connectivity – new technology approaches that enable high-bandwidth, energy-efficient connectivity for a range of future applications in wireless communications, system-to-system communications, and chip-to-chip communications. This theme seeks to flatten the computation-communication gap through a systems-driven, cross-layer, vertically integrated research program with the goal of realizing robust, scalable wireless edge to cloud connectivity.


  • Intelligent Sensing to Action – fundamental breakthroughs in analog hardware, to generate smarter world-machine interfaces that can sense, perceive, and reason. This theme will develop cognitive multi-spectral sensors that directly generate trustworthy insights from wideband multi-modal analog signals using closed-loop feedback control of the sensor hardware, and feature extraction algorithms that enable energy-efficient sensing-to-action.


  • Systems and Architecture for Distributed Compute – sustainable, scalable integration of a vast array of new technologies, novel architectures, and devices for emergent workloads. This theme seeks to deliver breakthrough advances in distributed, energy-efficient general purpose computing to enable heterogeneous systems of specialized accelerators. This theme will explore innovations in processing, storage, communication, and security/correctness technologies for scalable computing that will improve the performance and energy efficiency of diverse applications.


  • Intelligent Memory and Storage – fundamental changes in memory and storage paradigms, new memory technologies, and novel materials. This theme seeks to explore innovation in system and memory subsystem architectures towards the goal of achieving >1000X improvement in power, performance, area and/or cost (PPAC) while addressing reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) and security requirements for memory and storage. This theme will explore fundamental innovations across the stack – from devices to architecture and systems.


  • Advanced Monolithic and Heterogeneous Integration – fundamental technology breakthroughs for new logic and memory tiers, interconnects, and power and thermal infrastructure to connect the dots between architecture, devices, and manufacturing, enabling breakthrough system-level architectures that scale to manufacturing and assembly. This theme will enable unprecedented scaling of future systems through the development of new technologies that blur, merge, and eliminate the chip-package interface.


  • High-Performance Energy-Efficient Devices for Digital and Analog Applications – innovations in advanced active and passive devices and interconnect based on physics of new materials and unconventional syntheses, for orders of magnitude improvements in scaling, energy efficiency, area efficiency, power performance, throughput, latency, and functionalities.  This theme will enable the next-generation materials discovery and innovation in processing, intimately guided by novel device concepts, design, and application-level benchmarking to achieve minimized energy-delay product per function.


Proposals will be accepted and assessed on a rolling basis until 26 July 2024.


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Research Announcement – FLEX: DARPA-RA-23-02

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