The Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Mr. Michael Kratsios, administered the oath of office to Dr. Victoria Coleman, who was recently appointed as the 22nd director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Coleman succeeds Dr. Steven Walker who left the agency in January 2019. Dr. Peter Highnam, who has been DARPA deputy director since January 2018, had been serving as acting director since Walker’s departure.
Most recently, Coleman was a senior advisor on microelectronics technology policy to the director of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at the University of California, Berkeley.
Before her time at Berkeley, Coleman was the CEO of Atlas AI P.B.C, a Silicon Valley startup that sought to apply AI solutions to sustainable development initiatives. By combining satellite data with other data sets, Atlas AI’s proprietary deep learning models helped create actionable insights for clients across governments, NGOs, and commercial companies. Prior to joining Atlas AI, Coleman was the CTO at the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia. At Wikimedia she oversaw the organization’s technology department and technical roadmap, and was responsible for the evolution, development, and delivery of core platforms and architecture. In this role, Coleman worked to ensure an accessible and performant technology infrastructure and anticipate scale and capability challenges for Wikimedia projects.
Throughout Coleman’s expansive career she has held a series of senior positions at leading technology companies, including: Technicolor, Harman International, Yahoo!, Nokia, Hewlett Packard, Samsung, Intel, and SRI International.
Coleman joined SRI International in 1998 after serving 10 years as a tenured professor at the University of London. She also completed her undergraduate and graduate work in the United Kingdom, earning her B.Sc and M.Sc degrees at the University of Salford and her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Manchester.
Coleman is a former member of the Defense Science Board, as well as a member and founding chair of DARPA’s Microsystems Exploratory Council. In addition, she served in an advisory capacity to Lockheed Martin’s Technology Advisory Group, Airbus Industries Starboard, and Santa Clara University’s Advisory Board for the department of Computer Engineering. She also sat on the board of directors of the Public Library of Science.
About DARPA: Established in 1958 as part of the U.S. Department of Defense, DARPA is designed to anticipate, explore, and achieve the concepts and technology on which the nation’s future deterrent and defense capabilities depend. It does so collaboratively as part of a robust innovation ecosystem that includes academic, corporate, and governmental partners. And while its focus is always on the nation’s military services, which count on DARPA to create new strategic and tactical options, DARPA’s work has historically catalyzed fundamental breakthroughs that have benefited broader society as well.
The agency, located in Arlington, Va., supports approximately 210 government employees, about half of whom are program managers. Its research is conducted by a wide array of public- and private-sector performers via 2,000 contracts, grants, and other agreements. DARPA’s FY 2020 budget is $3.45 billion.