Founded in 2013 as a partnership between the National Security Agency and North Carolina State University, the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences (LAS) is a collaboration hub for practitioners from three areas: business, academia, and the Intelligence Community.
LAS supports the Intelligence Community by transitioning research and discoveries from these collaborations to help analysts solve their most pressing challenges related to national security and technology, leading to better solutions for real-world problems.
More than 90 percent of the work that LAS supports is unclassified, which means that it can draw from diverse talent and share discoveries widely. Much of the research has broad application, helping not just the Intelligence Community, but a variety of industries and institutions. LAS realizes the key subject-matter expertise needed to solve the Intelligence Community’s greatest challenges can be found in the uncleared academic and industry worlds. Collaboration is critical for success.
Working at the intersection of mission and technology:
Here’s how LAS collaborations work: Government analysts and researchers come to the LAS for a tour to have the opportunity to work on issues of interest. LAS matches the analyst with industry and academic professionals with expertise in their area of interest. The teams contribute ideas, experiences, research, and discoveries, which, in turn, broaden the scope of potential solutions and considerations. The Intelligence Community supports this collaboration because it believes analysts make more informed decisions with the insight of those in academia and industry working on similar challenges.
LAS is engaged in research to better understand decision-making and sensemaking to support analytic techniques, tradecraft, and technical capabilities. We work in the areas of machine learning, cybersecurity, analytic rigor and performance, and human-machine collaboration to improve analysts’ ability to assess and interpret large volumes of often disparate data. We also use expertise in the social sciences to understand problems of broad interest, like how influence campaigns are developed and executed. Teams of industry, academic, and government partners work side-by-side to enhance how analysts defend and protect the nation through integrated and innovative analysis.
Diversity of Teams:
Each calendar year, LAS funds multi-disciplinary teams of Academics and Industry Partners from many disciplines, including the social sciences, humanities, design, mathematics, engineering, statistics, computer science, and more. All of these fields help IC analysts better develop and apply key insights from the latest research and emerging technology.
How to Collaborate:
Every May, LAS formally kicks off its annual planning cycle by releasing its Call for White Papers. This document describes and provides examples of research and application areas of interest for the LAS, derived from a careful consideration of mission needs (based on discussions with IC partners) as well as the current expertise and interests of the LAS government staff. The Call for White Papers also sets the stage for LAS Collaborators Day, which gathers current and future academic and industry partners interested in working with LAS. Designed to attract unique and qualified academic and industry partners, this event consists of an introductory session followed by an open discussion with LAS research and analysis staff. Additional time for one-on-one meetings can also be scheduled.
A few highlights from past collaborations:
- Improving security at the 2016 Rio Olympic games: The software FareWays connected information from bus and train services in real time, alerting officials to potential safety issues for athletes and attendees during an influx of government protests in Brazil.
Gaining insight into terrorist attacks: Using forensic psychology to study the factors behind radicalization.
- Filtering social media: Social Sifter was developed to detect malign foreign influencers and bots, identifying patterns and commonalities.
- Aligned with the ODNI and Information and Intelligence Strategic plans, LAS focuses on direct knowledge-sharing, training, and hands-on support to empower the analytic work force with the skills it needs to succeed in an ever-changing environment.