DARPA Seeks Cyber Bots to Protect Networks

A competition conducted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency demonstrated that carefully programmed machines independently could find and fix software safety problems in a widely used computer code. DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge final phase had seven teams participating in the first “all-machine hacking tournament” seeking to improve cybersecurity by developing self-healing computer systems, according to a DARPA release. “Our mission is to change what’s possible so that we can take huge strides forward in our national security capabilities,” DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar said in the release. ForAllSecure, a new firm created by a team of computer security researchers from Pittsburgh, won the $2 million grand prize. Other teams of software developers and universities collected prizes of $1 million and $750,000 for second and third place. DARPA is focusing on cybersecurity, Prabhakar said, because “we can’t achieve these big dreams unless we can trust our networks.” Prabhakar invited participants in its next competition, Spectrum Collaboration Challenge, which will ask teams to build radio networks with embedded artificial intelligence that can analyze? and predict what is happening in the radio spectrum. The goal is to greatly improve the capacity of the limited radio frequency spectrum to handle more data.