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Proposers' Day Announcement for the IARPA Cryogenic Computing Complexity (C3) Program

Solicitation Number: IARPA-BAA-13-05(pd)
Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Office: Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Location: IARPA1
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Special Notice
Added: Feb 11, 2013 9:27 pm
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) will host a Proposers' Day Conference for the Cryogenic Computing Complexity (C3) Program on March 12, 2013 in anticipation of the release of a new solicitation in support of the program. The Conference will be held from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EST in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The conference will provide information on the C3 Program, address questions from potential proposers, and provide a forum for potential proposers to present their capabilities for teaming opportunities.
This announcement serves as a pre-solicitation notice and is issued solely for informational and planning purposes. The Proposers' Day Conference does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals or proposal abstracts. Conference attendance is voluntary and is not required to propose to future solicitations (if any) associated with this program.

Power and cooling for large-scale computing systems are rapidly becoming unmanageable problems for the enterprises which depend on them. The trend towards large, centralized computing facilities to house supercomputers, data centers, and special purpose computers continues to grow, driven by cloud computing, support of mobile devices, Internet traffic volume, and computation-intensive applications. In 2012, the total power demand of the TOP500 supercomputers measured around 0.25 GW; the total power usage of the, roughly, 500,000 data centers worldwide was estimated to be 31 GW in 2011. Conventional computing systems, which are based on complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) switching devices and normal metal interconnects, appear to have no path to be able to increase energy efficiency fast enough to keep up with increasing demands for computation.

Superconducting computing could offer an attractive low-power alternative to CMOS with many potential advantages. Josephson junctions, the superconducting switching devices, switch quickly (~1 ps), dissipate little energy per switch (< 10-19 J), and communicate information via small current pulses that propagate over superconducting transmission lines nearly without loss. While, in the past, significant technical obstacles prevented serious exploration of superconducting computing, recent innovations have created foundations for a major breakthrough. For example, the new single flux quantum (SFQ) logic circuits have no static power dissipation, and new energy efficient cryogenic memory ideas allow operation of memory and logic within the cold environment. Studies indicate that superconducting supercomputers may be capable of 1 PFLOP/s for about 25 kW and 100 PFLOP/s for about 200 kW, including the cryogenic cooler. Proof at smaller scales is an essential first step before any attempt to build a supercomputer.

Superconducting computing research currently consists of a few, scattered efforts with no initiative focused on advancing the field overall. Major research challenges include insufficient memory, insufficient integration density, and no realization of complete computing systems. The C3 Program will address these challenges with the goal of establishing superconducting computing as a long-term solution to the power- cooling problem and a successor to end-of-roadmap CMOS for high performance computing. Success of C3 will pave the way to a new generation of superconducting computers that are far more energy efficient than end-of-roadmap CMOS and scalable to practical application.

IARPA expects that the C3 program will be a five-year, two-phase program. Phase one, which encompasses the first three years, serves primarily to develop the technologies that are required to demonstrate a small superconducting processor. Phase two, for the final two years, will integrate those new technologies into a small-scale working model of a superconducting computer.

C3 Program thrusts will include:
1. Cryogenic memory: New approaches to enable high performance computing systems with greatly improved memory capacity and energy efficiency.
2. Logic, communications and systems: Development of advanced superconducting circuits and integration with memory and other components for demonstration of a limited superconducting computer system on which to measure performance metrics.

IARPA expects that each proposal will address fully a single thrust. If a proposer wishes to propose against more than one thrust, then separate proposals should be submitted. Proposals are not desired that address only a small portion of a thrust's goals. Collaborative efforts and teaming among potential performers will be strongly encouraged. Participation is open to individuals and organizations from around the world so long as the prime contractor is a US organization.

Attendees must register no later than 5:00 PM EST March 5, 2013 at Directions to the conference facility and other materials will be available on that website. No walk-in registrations will be allowed.

Due to space limitations, attendance will be limited to the first 140 registrants and to no more than two representatives per organization. All attendees will be required to present government-issued photo identification to enter the conference. Non-US citizens will be required to submit a Visit Request Form for Foreign Nationals no later than 5:00 PM EST March 5, 2013. The form and submission instructions can be found on the registration website.

Attendees who wish to present organizational capabilities for potential teaming opportunities may request to do so by sending an e-mail along with their presentation to Presentations will be limited to 10 minutes and a maximum of 5 slides (MS PowerPoint or PDF format). The opportunity to present will be limited by time and will therefore be on a first-to-ask basis. Deadline for requests is close of business (5:00 PM EST) March 5, 2013. It is the presenter's responsibility to ensure that all materials briefed are appropriately marked and approved for presentation by their organization. The IARPA Point of Contact will review and approve all presentations.

This Proposers' Day is intended for participants who are eligible to compete on the anticipated BAA. Other Government Agencies, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), and University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs) will not be eligible to submit proposals to the anticipated BAA nor participate as team members under proposals submitted by eligible entities. While such entities are not prohibited from attending the Proposers' Day, due to space limitations, preference will be given first to those organizations that are eligible to compete.

IARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred to participate in this conference.

For questions concerning conference & registration:

For questions regarding the program:

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IARPA-BAA-13-05 Proposers' Day Announcement

Other (Draft RFPs/RFIs, Responses to Questions, etc..)
IARPA-BAA-13-05 Proposers' Day Announcement
Posted Date:
February 11, 2013
Description: Proposers' Day Announcement for IARPA's C3 Program
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, District of Columbia 20511
United States
Dr. Marc Manheimer,
Program Manager