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Department of Defense funds experiments at UMass

By: Emily Reynolds
Collegian Staff

*originally posted Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The University of Massachusetts Amherst gets a lot of funding from the federal government. Close to 70 percent of the money for research on campus comes from federal agencies. Just over $6.5 million of that funding comes from the Department of Defense.

Research from the DOD comes from four places, Navy, Army, Air Force, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). While most students have heard of the three branches of military that give the school money, very few have probably heard of DARPA.

The point of DARPA is to imagine what the US military will need in the future for any endeavor that they take on, and start planning and building for it today. In their words, they want to stop technological surprises for our military and create them for adversaries. Basically, they take a lot of different science and research and see how it can be used for the military.

The agency has five offices: Defense Sciences Office, Information Processing Techniques Office, Microsystems Technology Office, Strategic Technology Office, and Tactical Technology Office.

Each office has dozens of ongoing projects. According to a chart on their website,www.darpa.mil, the agency has around a $7 billion budget for science and technology programs for the armed services.

At UMass, DARPA funded a Disruption Tolerant Networking project, which put devices into 40 buses on the UMass campus in 2005. The point was to “provide network services when no end-to-end path exists through the network.” Basically, it creates a way to communicate in areas where the normal means of communication can be destroyed or degraded for long periods of time. It can be used in war zones or during natural disasters.

Emily Reynolds can be reached at ereynold@student.umass.edu.

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