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DARPA gamifies open-source software testing

But can you use it to test game software? Eh?

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Secret-squirrel military tech bureau DARPA has designed a series of computer games which can help to verify open source software.

It is working on the games under the auspices of its Crowd Sourced Formal Verification programme.

The idea is to perform the soft of software verification which is generally conducted by technical experts.

“There are not enough human experts or available time to demonstrate that software is secure and reliable – so what we’ve done is repackage what human experts would normally do and produce tens of thousands of game levels for players on the internet to play games for us,” Matthew Barry, who is principal investigator at Kestrel Technology, the firm working with DARPA to develop the games, told Military.com.

One of the games is called Circuit Bot and involves running missions to asteroids.

“Along the way they are assembling teams of robots that have different assignments. If you assemble the robot team in the correct order you get a certain amount of points. The results of those assemblies contribute toward the verification of open source software,” Barry continued. “We’re enhancing what a human expert has to do by using the internet crowd to play games.”

Five games are available to be played on the website Verigames and some of the software verified by gamers may even end up being used by DARPA itself and other government organisations. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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