Research and Exploratory Development

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An APL researcher demonstrates a machine learning experiment using video and image recognition

Human and Machine Intelligence

We lead multidisciplinary research to perceive, decide, act, and team well beyond what is possible through human cognition alone, specifically focusing on AI exploration, AI vulnerabilities and defenses, biological intelligence, contextual intelligence, and teaming at the speed of thought.

Program Manager: Michael Wolmetz
Assistant Program Manager: Brock Wester

Focus Areas

Exploring fundamentally new AI concepts, applications, and research vectors

To enable the continued rapid pace of AI innovation, our work explores new concepts for data, learning, and computing, new cognitive paradigms, and new ways of integrating technologies for emerging applications such as AI for scientific discovery and complex design.

Enabling safe and assured AI for adversarial and sensitive contexts

For every new national security application of AI that comes online, critical vulnerabilities closely follow. Our research focuses on the structure and dynamics of intelligent systems to identify, detect, and mitigate critical vulnerabilities, adversarial and otherwise, within the much broader AI safety landscape.

Researching neurally and cognitively inspired algorithms and architectures

The mind and brain have been the state of the art in intelligence for over 500 million years. We perform targeted research at the intersection of neuroscience, cognitive science, and computer science in pursuit of more capable and resource-efficient artificial intelligence.

Advancing dynamic, multimodal reasoning for real-world decisions

Realizing the potential of AI for mission impact requires intelligent systems that can synthesize knowledge—from text and speech across languages to digital signals across sensing modalities—and reason flexibly about the world.

Developing human-AI teaming to perceive, decide, and act well beyond human cognition alone

As AI continues to advance, human operators will increasingly become the weakest links in the intelligent systems they rely on. To take greatest advantage of the growing capabilities, we are developing neural interfaces and cognitive teaming approaches to interact with technology, each other, and our environment in new ways.

Research Highlights

The Brain-Computer Interface Is Coming and We Are So Not Ready for It (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 15, 2020)

Johns Hopkins University APL is one of Fast Company’s Best Workplaces for Innovators (Fast Company, July 29, 2020)

[Video] Panel 2: Assuring AI for Real-World Decision Making (JHU Applied Physics Laboratory, December 27, 2019)

The US military is trying to read minds (MIT Technology Review, October 16, 2019)

Will we ever control the world with our minds? (, August 15, 2019)

[Video] Artificial Intelligence Colloquium: A New Paradigm of Brain-Computer Interface (DARPAtv, March 26, 2019)

What Do Animal Brains Have in Common with a Swarm of Robots? Maybe More Than You Think. (The JHU HUB, October 2, 2018)

IARPA Working on Machines That Predict the Future, See Like Humans (, September 18, 2018)

[Video] Our Future with Intelligent Systems (It’s Better than You Think) (, October 2017)

APL Celebrates 80 Years of

Game-Changing Impact

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80th anniversary