IARPA Launches Space-Based Machine Automated Recognition Technique Program


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The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, announced a multi-year research effort called the Space-based Machine Automated Recognition Technique (SMART) program.

SMART will automate broad-area search of multi-source satellite imagery to detect, monitor and characterize the progression of dynamic processes such as heavy construction or crop growth. By augmenting the manual imagery analysis process with global-scale image processing and machine learning, SMART will provide timely discovery and robust monitoring of man-made and natural change.

“Current manual exploitation methods do not scale well with the data volumes we’re receiving, and there’s the problem of simultaneously analyzing data from past, current and future space-based systems,” said IARPA Program Manager Jack Cooper. “SMART innovations in data fusion and machine learning techniques will enable automated broad area search at unprecedented temporal resolution and area coverage.” 

Through a competitive Broad Agency Announcement, IARPA has awarded SMART research contracts to teams led by Accenture Federal Services, Kitware, BlackSky Geospatial Solutions, and Systems & Technology Research. SMART’s Test and Evaluation Team is comprised of experts from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, MITRE, United States Geological Survey, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center and Savannah River National Laboratory.

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