United States. Department of Defense. Information Processing Techniques OfficeVariant names
In 1964, the Behavioral Sciences, Command and Control Research Office was split into the Behavioral Sciences Office (BSO) that covered the behavioral science functions and the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) that took over the Command and Control Research (CCR) functions.
The Information Processing Techniques Office was dedicated to developing advanced information processing and computer communications technologies for critical military and national security applications. In its area, IPTO's research program was the largest in the Federal government and included both basic research and exploratory development. IPTO's central purpose was to advance the technology and options for its application to command, control, and communications (C3), intelligence (I), and military information processing.
IPTO's first area of interest in basic research focused on artificial intelligence, system software and architecture, the design and architecture of integrated circuits, and advanced network concepts. The questions posed by artificial intelligence—how can machines replicate or expand the capabilities of human intelligence and how can this knowledge be best represented and utilized in a computer—were at the center of the problem of developing expert programs for application in remote, autonomous systems, such as emplaced sensor transmitters or "smart" weapons. Research on integrated circuit design addressed the possibilities of more efficient, nontraditional circuit architectures, which permitted parallel rather than sequential processing. Additional research addressed what designs and design techniques on computer chips were appropriate for the million-plus-gate integrated circuits of the future. A critical related question dealt with the capability of producing working chips in a timely fashion. Since integrated circuit fabrication usually took many months, IPTO supported efforts to develop a network-based methodology for rapid turnaround and implementation from design to packaged chip.
The size of the IPTO research effort reflected both the scope and increasing sophistication of information processing and computer technologies. If the conventional battlefield of the next two decades emphasized the dispersal and mobility of military resources, it would also impose ever greater requirements on the management of these resources. More information and more sharing of information was needed at all echelons. The same was true on a far larger scale in the processing of intelligence data from numerous and varied sources. Finally, advanced "smart" weapons could need to be launched from stand-off platforms and, to avoid interception or capture, would need to be self-guiding. Such "smart" weapons required an on-board, autonomous capability to collect and process information to guide them to their targets while avoiding attack.
The technological requirements and applications needs of such systems were diverse. System architecture for ensuring system security was a central concern. Research to facilitate the use of information processing in strategic and tactical situations explored the possibilities of decomposing speech and data into discrete packets for transmission and reassembly over shared packet-switched networks. Because such networks needed to be comprehensive and handled large amounts of data, IPTO supported research on effective communication algorithms and management protocols for large-scale networks.
Continued research and development (R&D) efforts were pursued to realize and exploit the revolutionary opportunities to enhance U.S. defense and national security capabilities in information processing and computer communications.IPTO Directors included: Joseph C. R. Licklider, 1964-July 1964; Ivan E. Sutherland, July 1964-June 1966; Robert W. Taylor, June 1966-March 1969; Lawrence [Larry] G. Roberts, March 1969-September 1973; Alan G. Blue (Acting), 1974; Joseph C. R. Licklider, January 1974- August 1975; David C. Russell, September 1975-August 1979; Robert E. Kahn, August 1979-September 1985; and Saul Amarel, September 1985-June 1986.
In June 1986, the Information Processing Techniques Office merged with the Engineering Applications Office (EAO) to form the Information Science and Technology Office (ISTO) that was responsible for both technology base and applications work.