A. Overview Information
I. Federal Agency Name: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Information Processing Technology Office
II. Funding Opportunity Title: Global Autonomous Language Exploitation (GALE)
III. Announcement Type: Initial Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)
IV. Funding Opportunity Number: BAA 05-28
V. CFDA Number: 12.910
VI. Key Dates
a. Initial Closing: 12:00 Noon (ET), 2 May 2005
b. Bidder?s Conference: April 6, 2005. Details may be found at http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/solicitations/solicitations.htm listed under BAA05-28.
c. Final Closing: 12:00 Noon (ET), 16 March 2006
d. All administrative correspondence and questions on this solicitation, including requests for information on how to submit a proposal to this BAA, must be received at one of the administrative addresses below by 12:00 Noon (ET) 1 March 2006
B. Full text of announcement
I. Funding Opportunity Description
DARPA seeks strong, responsive proposals from well-qualified sources for a new
research and development program called GALE (Global Autonomous Language Exploitation) with the goal of eliminating the need for linguists and analysts and automatically providing relevant, distilled actionable information to military command and personnel in a timely fashion.
The goal of the GALE program is to develop and apply computer software technologies to absorb, analyze and interpret huge volumes of speech and text in multiple languages. Automatic processing ?engines? will convert and distill the data, delivering pertinent, consolidated information in easy-to-understand forms to military personnel and monolingual English-speaking analysts in response to direct or implicit requests.
GALE will consist of three major engines: Transcription, Translation and Distillation. The output of each engine is English text. The input to the transcription engine is speech and to the translation engine, text. Engines will pass along pointers to relevant source language data that will be available to humans and downstream processes. The distillation engine integrates information of interest to its user from multiple sources and documents. The engine may gather all documents relevant to a specific query, identify various kinds of new information, produce structured information from unstructured text, discovering entities, relations, and events to populate knowledge bases or gather fragmented information, discarding repetition, and indicating contradictions and changes over time. Military personnel will interact with the distillation engine via interfaces that could include various forms of human-machine dialogue (not necessarily in natural language).
To facilitate engine interconnection and application implementation, one program task will be to develop a flexible Language Exploitation Environment (LEE). The LEE will include well-defined interfaces and control software for interconnecting the major processing modules (Transcription and Distillation or Translation and Distillation) and input data bases in GALE.
As successful technologies emerge, proposers of insertion projects will include them in a series of carefully selected operational applications. The goal is to get functional technologies into the hands of users quickly. Other programs and agencies may enhance and modify the emerging GALE technology to suit their needs and incorporate it into their operating environments.
Proposals are sought for efforts to provide large quantities of data, organized and annotated in appropriate ways, needed for effective research, algorithm development and performance evaluation.
Proposals are also sought for methods to evaluate the operational utility (impact) of processing engines (alone or in combination with one another).
Engines must be able to process naturally-occurring speech and text of all the following types: broadcast news, talk shows, newswire, newsgroups, weblogs and telephone conversations. The source languages will be English, Chinese and Arabic plus surprise languages to be announced later.
DARPA?s desired end result includes a transcription engine and a translation engine that produces English transcripts with 95% accuracy and a distillation engine able to fill knowledge bases with key facts and to deliver useful information as proficiently as humans can.
The GALE program will not include predetermined phases. Each offeror is asked to propose its own set of Go/No-Gos on the path to achieving the program?s accuracy targets as stated above, except for the first set of targets for the transcription project, set at 65%, and the translation project, set at 75%. This includes the length of time required by the offeror to get to each Go/No-Go as well as the accuracy level to be achieved at each Go/No-Go. Individual proposals will be evaluated on their scientific merit as well as on their Go/No-Go-based plan to achieve the desired program goals. Achieving the proposed accuracy goals at the end of each of the offeror?s Go/No-Go phases is only a necessary condition for continuing. Analysis showing that the technique has the growth potential to meet the ultimate goal is also required. Even here, DARPA may still eliminate the lowest performing effort.
II. Award Information
The Government reserves the right to select all, some, or none of the proposals received in response to this solicitation and to make awards without discussions with offerors; however, the Government reserves the right to conduct discussions if the Source Selection Authority later determines them to be necessary. Final funding determination will be based on the combination of proposed approaches which will reasonably support program success. Proposals identified for funding may result in a contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or other transaction depending upon the nature of the work proposed, the required degree of interaction between the parties, and other factors. If warranted, portions of resulting awards may be segregated into pre-priced options.
III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
All responsible sources capable of satisfying the Government's needs may submit a proposal that shall be considered by DARPA. Small Disadvantaged Businesses, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Institutions (MIs) are encouraged to submit proposals and join others in submitting proposals. However, no portion of this BAA will be set aside for Small Disadvantaged Business, HBCU and MI participation due to the impracticality of reserving discrete or severable areas of this research for exclusive competition among these entities.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
Cost sharing is not required for this particular program; however, cost sharing will be carefully considered where there is an applicable statutory condition relating to the selected funding instrument (e.g., for any Technology Investment Agreement under the authority of 10 U.S.C. 2371).
IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Package
This announcement and the PIP contain all information required to submit a proposal. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed. [Note: see paragraph 6, ?other submission requirements,? for reference to the PIP.]
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
This BAA requires completion of an online Cover Sheet for each Proposal prior to submission. To do so, the offeror must go to http://www.dyncorp-is.com/BAA/index.asp?BAAid=05-28 and follow the instructions there. Each offeror is responsible for printing the BAA Confirmation Sheet and attaching it to every copy. The Confirmation Sheet should be the first page of the Proposal. If an offeror intends to submit more than one Proposal, a unique UserId and password must be used in creating each Cover Sheet. Failure to comply with these submission procedures may result in the submission not being evaluated.
Security classification guidance on a DD Form 254 (DoD Contract Security Classification Specification) will not be provided at this time since DARPA is soliciting ideas only. After reviewing incoming proposals, if a determination is made that contract award may result in access to classified information, a DD Form 254 will be issued upon contract award. If you choose to submit a classified proposal you must first receive the permission of the Original Classification Authority to use their information in replying to this BAA.
Offerors must submit an original and 2 copies of the full proposal and 2 electronic copies (i.e., 2 separate disks) of the full proposal (in PDF or Microsoft Word 2000 for IBM-compatible format on a 3.5-inch floppy disk, or cd). Mac-formatted disks will not be accepted. Each disk must be clearly labeled with BAA 05-28, offeror organization, proposal title (short title recommended) and Copy number of 2.
3. Submission Dates and Times
The full proposal (original and designated number of hard and electronic copies) must be submitted in time to reach DARPA by 12:00 NOON (ET) 2 May 2005, in order to be considered during the initial evaluation phase. However, BAA 05-28, Global Autonomous Language Exploitation (GALE) will remain open until 12:00 NOON (ET) 16 March 2006. Thus, proposals may be submitted at any time from issuance of this BAA through 16 March 2006. While the proposals submitted after the 2 May 2005, deadline will be evaluated by the Government, offerors should keep in mind that the likelihood of funding such proposals is less than for those proposals submitted in connection with the initial evaluation and award schedule. DARPA will acknowledge receipt of submissions and assign control numbers that should be used in all further correspondence regarding proposals.
4. Intergovernmental Review ? N/A
5. Funding Restrictions
Authorization of precontract costs will be considered in situations of genuine urgency where programmatic benefits will accrue from their use.
6. Other Submission Requirements
Offerors must obtain the BAA 05-28 Offeror Information Pamphlet (PIP), which provides further information on the areas of interest, submission, evaluation, funding processes, and proposal formats. This pamphlet will be posted directly to FedBizOpps.gov and may also be obtained at URL address http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/Solicitations/solicitations.htm. Proposals not meeting the format described in the pamphlet may not be reviewed. This notice, in conjunction with the BAA 05-28 PIP and all references, constitutes the total BAA. No additional information is available, nor will a formal RFP or other solicitation regarding this announcement be issued. Requests for same will be disregarded.
V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria (listed in descending order of relative importance):
(1) Overall Scientific and Technical Merit
(2) Phase Duration and Targets
(3) Utilization by military personnel
(4) Offeror's Capabilities and Related Experience
(5) Plans and Capability to Accomplish Technology Transition
(6) Cost Realism
2. Review and Selection Process
It is the policy of DARPA to ensure impartial, equitable, comprehensive evaluation of all proposals and to select the source (or sources) whose offer meets the Government?s technical and policy goals. Evaluation of proposals will be accomplished through a scientific review of each proposal, using the above criteria which are detailed further in the PIP.
Proposals will not be evaluated against each other, since they are not submitted in accordance with a common work statement. DARPA's intent is to review proposals as soon as possible after they arrive; however, proposals may be reviewed periodically for administrative reasons.
Restrictive notices notwithstanding, proposals may be handled for administrative purposes by support contractors. These support contractors are prohibited from competition in DARPA technical research and are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements. Input on technical aspects of the proposals may be solicited by DARPA from non-Government consultants /experts who are also bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements. However, non-Government technical consultants/experts will not have access to proposals that are labeled by their offerors as ?Government Only?. Use of non-government personnel is covered in FAR 37.203(d).
VI. Award Information Administration
1. Award Notices
Principal Investigators will receive a letter informing them of the disposition of their proposal via U.S. mail.
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Offerors may visit DARPA?s Contracts Management Office (CMO) website (http://www.darpa.mil/cmo/pages/modelgrantagreement.htm) for model grant and cooperative agreement terms and conditions.
For Research Involving Human Subjects:
Proposals selected for funding are required to comply with provisions of the Common Rule (32 CFR 219) on the protection of human subjects in research (http://www.dtic.mil/biosys/downloads/32cfr219.pdf) and the Department of Defense Directive 3216.2 (http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/html2/d32162x.htm). All proposals that involve the use of human subjects are required to include documentation of their ability to follow Federal guidelines for the protection of human subjects. This includes, but is not limited to, protocol approval mechanisms, approved Institutional Review Boards, and Federal Wide Assurances. These requirements are based on expected human use issues sometime during the entire length of the proposed effort.
For proposals involving ?greater than minimal risk? to human subjects within the first year of the project, performers must provide evidence of protocol submission to a federally approved IRB at the time of final proposal submission to DARPA. For proposals that are forecasted to involve ?greater than minimal risk? after the first year, a discussion on how and when the offeror will comply with submission to a federally approved IRB needs to be provided in the submission. More information on applicable federal regulations can be found at the Department of Health and Human Services ? Office of Human Research Protections website (http://www.dhhs.gov/ohrp/).
The Award Document for each proposal selected and funded will contain a mandatory requirement for submission of Quarterly Status Reports and an Annual Project Summary Report. These reports will be submitted electronically via the DARPA/IPTO Technical-Financial Information Management System (T-FIMS), utilizing the government-furnished Uniform Resource Locator (URL) on the World Wide Web (WWW). Further details may be found in the Offeror Information Pamphlet (PIP).
The DARPA/CMO website referenced above also provides general information about reports required specifically for grants and cooperative agreements.
VII. Agency Contacts
Fax: (703) 741-7804 Addressed to: DARPA/IPTO, BAA 05-28
Electronic Mail: BAA05email@example.com
Electronic File Retrieval: http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/Solicitations/solicitations.htm
Mail to: DARPA/IPTO
ATTN: BAA 05-28
3701 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203-1714
Who can apply:
Eligible functional categories:
Research and Technology Development
If you have problems accessing the full announcement, please contact:
Coordinator, IPTO BAA
Department of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Contracts Management Office