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Physical intelligence (PI)

Solicitation Number: DARPA-SN-09-35
Agency: Other Defense Agencies
Office: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Location: Contracts Management Office
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Special Notice
Added: May 05, 2009 11:23 am

Special Notice DARPA-SN-09-35: Physical intelligence (PI);
Proposers' Day Workshop, DATES: June 9th and June 11th, 2009;

In anticipation of a potential program on the topic of Physical intelligence (PI), DARPA is hosting two Proposers' Day Workshops that will provide critical information on the program vision, the milestones, and opportunities associated with the development of interdisciplinary teams to respond to an anticipated Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). The Physical Intelligence program aspires to understand intelligence as a physical phenomenon and to make the first demonstration of the principle in electronic and chemical systems. A central tenet is that intelligence spontaneously evolves as a consequence of thermodynamics in open systems. The program plan is organized around three interrelated task areas: (1) creating a theory (a mathematical formalism) and validating it in natural and engineered systems; (2) building the first human-engineered systems that display physical intelligence in the form of abiotic, self-organizing electronic and chemical systems; and (3) developing analytical tools to support the design and understanding of physically intelligent systems. If successful, the program would launch a revolution of understanding across many fields of human endeavor, demonstrate the first intelligence engineered from first principles, create new classes of electronic, computational, and chemical systems, and create tools to engineer intelligent systems that match the problem/environment in which they will exist. Concepts relevant to the objectives of the Physical Intelligence program can be found in numerous disciplines and areas of research including statistical physics, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, dissipative systems, group theory, collective behavior, complexity theory, consciousness theory, non-linear dynamical systems, complex adaptive systems, systems analysis, multi-scale modeling, control systems, information theory, computation theory, topology, electronics, evolutionary computation, cellular automata, artificial life, origin of life, microbiology, evolutionary biology, evolutionary chemistry, neuropsychology, neurophysiology, brain modeling, organizational behavior, operations research and others.

To facilitate maximum participation DARPA will host two similar PI Proposers' Day Workshops, one on each coast of the United States. The workshop goals are to: (a) introduce the research community (industry, academia, and Government) to the PI program vision and goals; (b) explain the mechanics of a DARPA program and the milestones and metrics of this particular effort; and (c) promote teaming arrangements among organizations having relevant expertise, facilities, and capabilities to execute an interdisciplinary research program responsive to the PI program goals. The workshops will include overview presentations by Government personnel and poster sessions to facilitate interaction and team building among the session participants. Potential participants should note that formation of teams with sufficient expertise to address all technical areas described in the forthcoming BAA will be critical to the success of the PI program. DARPA will not be funding partial efforts that address only a subset of the goals listed in the PI solicitation. Workshop participants are strongly encouraged to prepare posters describing areas of capabilities in order to facilitate discussions during the poster session. Additionally, a teaming website has been established to facilitate these interactions at

There is no fee for the PI Proposers' Day Workshops. Registration for each workshop is limited (maximum 100 people; 2 persons per organization) by the venue capacity and early registration is strongly recommended. The Poster Session will be limited to 1 poster per organization with a cut-off of 40 posters total. The registration cutoff date is 4:00PM ET, May 29, 2009. Organizations wishing to register more than 2 participants, bring more that one poster, or attend both workshops should request to do so by e-mail to Dr. Hylton as early as possible (expect replies during the week of May 25, 2009).

Workshop details including registration, poster session, meeting location, and lodging are provided on the registration website.

East Coast Workshop
Time: June 9, 2009, 7:00am-5:00pm
Location: Hyatt Regency Reston
1800 Presidents Street
Reston, VA 20190
Registration website:
(Password = pieast).

West Coast Workshop
Time: June 11, 2009, 7:00am-5:00pm
Location: Hayes Mansion
200 Edenvale Avenue
San Jose, CA 95136
Registration website:
(Password = piwest).

For any questions related to these workshops please e-mail Please refer to the PI Proposers' Day Workshop (DARPA-SN-09-35) in all correspondence. This announcement is not a request for proposals; any so sent will be returned. Nor does this announcement guarantee any funding should a Broad Agency Announcement be published related to these workshops.


3701 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, Virginia 22203-1714
Todd Hylton,
Darpa Program Manager