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Pentagon-funded games would crowdsource weapons testing

The Pentagon plans to fork over $32 million to develop “fun to play” computer games that can refine the way weapons systems are tested to ensure they are free from software errors and security bugs, according to a Defense Department solicitation.

The goal is to create puzzles that are “intuitively understandable by ordinary people” and could be solved on laptops, smartphones, tablets and consoles. The games’ solutions will be collected into a database and used to improve methods for analyzing software, according to the draft request for proposalsput out by the military’s venture capital and research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

As weapons systems have become complex, the military’s methods for verifying that the software running on them is glitch-free and secure against hackers has fallen short. Formal verification is the process analysts use, through the application of mathematical theories, to determine if software code is free from bugs. Crowdsourcing this complicated task would help the Pentagon cut costs while it grapples with a shortage of computer security specialists.

via NextGov, continued here.