Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

DARPA Announces New Program in Big Data

February 21st, 2014 / in Uncategorized / by Ann Drobnis

DARPA LogoThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced the launch of the Big Mechanism program to develop automated technologies that will help explain the causes and effects that drive complicated systems.

Paul Cohen, DARPA Program Manager says,

Having big data about complicated economic, biological, neural and climate systems isn’t the same as understanding the dense webs of causes and effects—what we call the big mechanisms—in these systems. Unfortunately, what we know about big mechanisms is contained in enormous, fragmentary and sometimes contradictory literatures and databases, so no single human can understand a really complicated system in its entirety. Computers must help us.

Indeed, the Big Mechanism program might herald new ways to understand complicated systems. Today’s researchers read deeply but struggle to keep up with relentless streams of relevant publications. To stay current, a researcher must specialize, becoming expert in a small part of something much bigger. The vision for the Big Mechanism program is fundamentally different:  Every publication would immediately become part of a public, computer-maintained, causal model of a complicated system—a big mechanism—and every aspect of a big mechanism would be tied to the data that supports it or contradicts it.

The Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Big Mechanism is available here. DARPA is accepting proposals for the program until March 18, 2014 at 12 p.m. ET. For more information, please email

DARPA Announces New Program in Big Data

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