On August 12, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA-RFI-15-03) posted the following Request for Information (RFI): Forecasting Rare Events. Responses to this RFI are due via email no later than 4:00pm, Eastern Time, on September 18, 2015.
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on methods to model and forecast rare events. This request for information (RFI) is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. The following sections of this announcement contain details of the scope of technical efforts of interest, along with instructions for the submission of responses.
The purpose of this RFI is to identify existing and emerging methods to model and forecast rare events, and approaches for assessing the performance of these methods. Of particular interest are methods that can support fundamental advances in rare event forecasting that may be generalized or adapted for a range of domains. For present purposes, a “forecast” is defined as a probability assigned to an event or class of events, while a “rare event” is defined as an event observed with very low temporal or spatial frequency relative to the parent data population or reference class, such as less than one instance in one thousand observations. The usefulness of methods depends heavily on their performance (e.g., accuracy, lead time, false positive and negative rates). The low frequency of rare events makes model and forecast evaluation difficult, as the number of observations may be too small to make conventional statistical inferences about performance. This RFI also seeks to identify alternative approaches for assessing the performance of methods for forecasting rare events.
RFI respondents are encouraged to address methodological issues and describe the state-of-art in rare event modeling and forecasting. Domains of interest include, but are not limited to: International Relations (e.g., interstate wars), Political Science (e.g., coups), Epidemiology (e.g., pandemics), Economics (e.g., market crashes), Technological Hazards (e.g., nuclear incidents), Natural Hazards (e.g., earthquakes, extreme space weather, etc.) and changes in Scientific and Technological knowledge (e.g., breakthrough discoveries).
The responses to this RFI may be used to help in planning a one-day workshop on rare events. An expected result of such a workshop is the identification of promising areas for research investment.
IARPA requests that submittals briefly and clearly describe approach(es) and concept(s), outline critical technical obstacles, describe how critical obstacles may be addressed, and comment on the expected performance and robustness of the proposed approach(es). If appropriate, respondents may also choose to provide a non-proprietary rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate of the cost of developing relevant approaches, in terms of funding and other resources for one or more years. This announcement contains all of the information required to submit a response. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed.
IARPA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources from within and outside of the US. Because IARPA is interested in an integrated approach, responses from teams with complementary areas of expertise are encouraged.
Full information is available here.