Simpson 1991 : The vision research being performed under the Strategic Computing Initiative sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the US Department of Defense is discussed. The goal is to develop knowledge-based technology that will allow the construction of complete, robust, high-performance image-understanding systems. The projects address four critical areas: visual modeling and recognition, dynamic scene and motion analysis, vision-based obstacle avoidance and path planning, and implementation issues for parallel-computing architectures. The structure of the projects and the relationships among them are explained. This overview serves as an introduction to a series of articles on the DARPA projects.