Feeds

DARPA seeks 'Deep Green' battle computer

Human GIs to be pawns in deadly man-vs-machine chess game

The essential guide to IT transformation

The scientists and engineers of DARPA (The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency), the Pentagon's gateway to the technological left field, have struck again. The bulgy-bonced battle boffins have decided to sink some cash into an effort to develop a super-intelligent battle computer system which will enable US soldiers to be invincible in the field.

Perhaps impressed by the famous "Deep Blue" and its victories over mere human brains in the mock combat of chess, DARPA's name for its general-in-a-box tech is "Deep Green".

The colour presumably alludes to the fact that - at least to start with - the robocommand package is intended to help US Army bird colonels handle their "modular brigade" battle groups. If the project were a British Army one, the project might be known as "Deep Brown" (Or there again, maybe not). As Deep Blue is already taken, future versions for the other US services will presumably be known as Deep Periwinkle (air force) and Actually Deep Blue (navy).

deep green

Deep Green: This mission is too important for me to allow you

to jeopardise it, colonel ...

According to the DARPA call for ideas (available in full here (pdf), Deep Green will include technologies called "Sketch to Plan and Sketch to Decide", "Crystal Ball", "Automated Course of Action Generation"" and "Blitzkrieg".

The idea is that within three years DARPA will be able to run wargames using human headquarters staffs, but that the Deep Green equipped staffs will have only a quarter as many personnel. Performance will be graded by judges who don't know whether a given team was Deep Green equipped or not.

It would, of course, be silly to say that Deep Green will take over the US Army's combat units.

"Leaders from the field generally do not want machine-generated courses of action," admits DARPA, plainly disappointed after being shouted at by some cigar-chewing US colonels. Deep Green is to be "a commander-driven battle command technology".

But the boffins have left themselves scope for the machine takeover which we all knew would be inevitable from the start.

"The long-term vision of Deep Green is for options to be generated by both the commander and the computer... so that some options are generated by humans and others are generated by machines. Initially, DARPA expects the machine generation of options to be centered on making clever mutations of the human-generated options..."

And from there it's only a short step to getting rid of the human generals and colonels altogether. They can head down to the dole queue with the swarms of annoying staff officers automated out of a job in the early phases.

Come to think of it, Deep Green might actually be rather popular in the army. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
Get it right, EMC, or there'll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.