Information Processing Techniques Office

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The Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO), originally "Command and Control Research,"[1] was part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the United States Department of Defense.

J.C.R. Licklider, the first director 1962 to 1964, “...initiated three of the most important developments in information technology: the creation of computer science departments at several major universities, time-sharing, and networking.”[2] By the late 1960s, his promotion of the concept had inspired a primitive version of his vision called ARPANET, which expanded into a network of networks in the 1970s that became the Internet.[3]

The stated mission of IPTO was:

[To] create a new generation of computational and information systems that possess capabilities far beyond those of current systems. These cognitive systems - systems that know what they're doing:

  • will be able to reason, using substantial amounts of appropriately represented knowledge;
  • will learn from their experiences and improve their performance over time;
  • will be capable of explaining themselves and taking naturally expressed direction from humans;
  • will be aware of themselves and able to reflect on their own behavior;
  • will be able to respond robustly to surprises, in a very general way.


Ivan Sutherland replaced J. C. R. Licklider as the head IPTO, when Licklider returned to MIT in 1964.[4][5] Bob Taylor was hired as Sutherland's assistant in 1965 and became director in 1966.[6]

During the time Bob Taylor was director the offices of IPTO consisted of a spacious office for the director in Ring D of The Pentagon and a small "terminal room" with remote terminals to mainframe computers at MIT, the University of California, Berkeley and the AN/FSQ-32 in Santa Monica.[7] The staff at the Pentagon consisted of the director and his secretary.[8] The budget was $19 million which funded computer research projects at MIT and other institutions in Massachusetts and California.[9]

In 1966 Taylor went to ARPA, on Ring E, for funding to create a computer network that used interactive computing. He got $1 million and hired Lawrence Roberts to manage the project.[10]

IPTO was combined with the Transformational Convergence Technology Office (TCTO) to form the Information Innovation Office (I2O) in 2010.

IPTO Research Projects[edit]

  • ARPANET: directed by Bob Taylor 1966-1969.[7]
  • BICA: project to create "Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures"
  • Bootstrapped Learning: a project to bring about "instructable computing" by driving the creation of machine learning algorithms that are responsive to models of human-to-human instruction
  • LifeLog, an IPTO project "to trace the 'threads' of an individual's life in terms of events, states, and relationships" by creating "an ontology-based (sub)system that captures, stores, and makes accessible the flow of one person’s experience in and interactions with the world in order to support a broad spectrum of associates/assistants and other system capabilities."
  • FORESTER: a program to develop a helicopter-borne radar system that can detect soldiers and vehicles moving underneath foliage cover
  • VIRAT: analysis and storage of video surveillance data
  • Deep Green: U.S. Army battlefield decision-making support system
  • Heterogeneous Urban RSTA Team: aerial surveillance program designed to monitor cities with self-directed UAVs
  • High Productivity Computing Systems: project for developing a new generation of economically viable high productivity computing systems for national security and industry in the 2007 to 2010 timeframe


  1. ^ Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (p. 39). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
  2. ^ "Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) (United States Government)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Garreau, Joel (2006). Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies--and what it Means to be Human. Broadway. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-7679-1503-8. 
  4. ^ Moschovitis Group, Hilary W. Poole, Laura Lambert, Chris Woodford, and Christos J. P. Moschovitis (2005). The Internet: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-85109-659-0. 
  5. ^ Page, Dan and Cynthia Lee (1999). "Looking Back at Start of a Revolution". UCLA Today (The Regents of the University of California (UC Regents)). Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  6. ^ "He joined ARPA in early 1965, following Licklider’s departure, to work as deputy to Ivan Sutherland, IPTO’s second director. Months later, in 1966, at the age of thirty-four, Taylor became the third director of IPTO" Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (p. 40). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
  7. ^ a b "Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. A Model 33 Teletype terminal, resembling a metal desk with a large noisy typewriter embedded in it, was linked to a computer at the University of California in Berkeley. And another Teletype terminal , a Model 35, was dedicated to a computer in Santa Monica, California, called, cryptically enough, the AN/ FSQ 32XD1A, nicknamed the Q-32," Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (p. 12). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
  8. ^ Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (p. 13). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
  9. ^ "Most of IPTO’s $ 19 million budget was being sent to campus laboratories in Boston and Cambridge, or out to California, to support work that held the promise of making revolutionary advances in computing." Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (p. 13). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
  10. ^ "a shy, deep-thinking young computer scientist from the Lincoln Labs breeding ground named Larry Roberts." Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (p. 45). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

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