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Defense & Security

Arati Prabhakar: Driving Technological Surprise

DARPA chief says the future is "full of photons."

15 May 2013, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201305.01

Arati Prabhakar has spent her career investing in world-class engineers and scientists to create new technologies and businesses. In 1986 she joined DARPA as a program manager. She initiated and managed programs in advanced semiconductor technology and flexible manufacturing, as well as demonstration projects to insert new semiconductor technologies into military systems. As the founding director of DARPA's Microelectronics Technology Office, she led a team of program managers whose efforts spanned these areas, as well as optoelectronics, infrared imaging and nanoelectronics. She was the Symposium-Wide Plenary speaker at SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. The slides and audio of her talk are presented here.

Prabhakar received her Doctor of Philosophy in applied physics and Master of Science in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. She received her Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University. She began her career as a Congressional Fellow at the Office of Technology Assessment.

She has served in recent years on the National Academies' Science Technology and Economic Policy Board, the College of Engineering Advisory Board at the University of California, Berkeley, and the red team of DARPA's Defense Sciences Research Council. In addition, she chaired the Efficiency and Renewables Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Prabhakar is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a Texas Tech Distinguished Engineer, and a Caltech Distinguished Alumna.