Arati Prabhakar – D.C.'s Top 50 Women in Tech 2015

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Arati Prabhakar

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

If you enjoyed this website, accessed it using a smartphone or asked Siri's help in finding it, you can partly thank DARPA.

Like the innovations mentioned above, DARPA's overall mission is to create “breakthrough technologies." Overseeing those discoveries is DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar.

Prabhakar has mentioned DARPA's mission objective in numerous interviews, but those “breakthrough technologies" span an incredible range. Among the innovations DARPA is currently involved in: President Barack Obama's BRAIN Initiative, which aims to cure and prevent brain disorders; an arsenal of wireless quadruped robots; and setting the world record for the fastest circuit.

We're a bridge to the technology work, and technology is what inspires us.

“When we hear from the military or national security community about a grave problem, a major challenge, that very much informs our work," Prabhakar recently told PBS' Charlie Rose.

Another problem DARPA is tackling is getting more kids involved in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Through their ENGAGE program, a number of online games were created in order to introduce children to concepts like number lines and neuroscience.

Personally, Prabhakar has served on the boards the National Academies' Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy, and the University of California, Berkeley's College of Engineering Advisory Board.

But no matter who's involved or what project is the next big thing, the mission is at the heart of all 200 employees who fill DARPA's six offices.

“We're a bridge to the technology work, and technology is what inspires us," Prabhakar said.

– Greg Otto

Read the full story about this year's selection of D.C.'s Top 50 Women in Technology, and view the full list here.