Breakthrough Technologies for the Future

What are some of the critical technologies and devices you use everyday? If you are reading this blog, the Internet, smartphones, and computers are probably on your top of the list. Did you know that the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is behind the creation, development, or advancement of those groundbreaking technologies that we use daily in our modern digital world? Since its inception in 1958, DARPA has contributed to sensors, the Global Positioning System (GPS) and navigation, semiconductor components in smartphones, surveillance, radar, x-rays, artificial intelligence, night vision goggles, just to name a few.

On Tuesday, November 19th, the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) hosted another Titans Breakfast featuring Doctor Arati Prabhakar, Director of DARPA, to talk about Breakthrough Technologies for National Security. In addition to her current role, Prabhakar was appointed as the head of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at the age of 34. She also held executive management positions in the private sector before she returned to DARPA, where she started her career.

Her riveting, fascinating presentation covered the history of DARPA and why it was founded in 1958 as a response to the former Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik to beat the US into space. While DARPA has an impressive history of innovations, it continues to sponsor new programs to make sure it stays true to its mission, which is to create and prevent strategic surprise

Looking forward, DARPA will continue to leverage current technology and invest in defense across different domains, including space, robotics, and biotech. Prabhakar talked about a few innovative research programs and showed multimedia videos to demonstrate:

  • Lightweight, more cost effective & agile satellite launches into space: $1M to $5M within 24 hours notice to bring down cost and improve speed

  • Use of robotics in space to service, reuse, and maintain satellites and stations

  • Preventing widespread of infectious disease with simple diagnostic tools and effective vaccines that even a 6-year-old can use

  • Results from brain and neurology research to deliver next-gen advanced robotics and prosthetics that human minds can control

High precision warfare to defend national interests are dependent on assets with high complexity and cost. Prabhakar cautioned that: “if we don’t control costs, we will end up being able to build PowerPoints, not mission critical systems.” While Appian has a different mission, our Federal clients from Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), US Army, Homeland Security, to the US Treasury and the FDA use Appian’s BPM software platform to power and accelerate their mission. Our drag-and-drop application designer is just as easy to use as Microsoft PowerPoint and Visio, but it’s powerful and scalable to support a wide range of use cases and tens-of-thousands of users for enterprise performance.

Arati is a true inspiration for Appian’s Women Leadership Program (WLP), which sponsored the NVTC event. As a self-directed group with executive support to attract, retain, and promote women at Appian, WLP hosts a number of events and initiatives to mentor, develop, and advance skills and opportunities for women. If you want to build your career with Appian, we are hiring across different functions. We look for driven, accomplished men and women who are passionate about technology and want to make a difference in this world. Please check out our website for job opportunities and apply or forward it to a friend.

Cindy Cheng

Director of Product Marketing