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DARPA Makes Finding Software Flaws Fun

Lewisham Re:How does it work? (46 comments)

DARPA funded the project, and DARPA fund lots of projects. I think a debate about whether DARPA is good or bad is pretty out-of-scope for this particular work: we made a game that might show how software verification could be crowdsourced.

The games do try to be fun, that's why none of them are "look at this loop and write an invariant". Xylem dresses up the problem statement as logic puzzles that surround the growth of exotic plants. I don't have an iPad to play the final version of Xylem on, but we tried hard to come up with a compelling game.

I don't believe the expected player base really cares about whether the project was funded by DARPA or not. I understand if you don't, but I think you would also have to stop using the Internet if you have such an issue with DARPA funded projects :)

about a year ago
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DARPA Makes Finding Software Flaws Fun

Lewisham Re:How does it work? (46 comments)

I worked on Xylem when I was a grad student at UCSC. I was not on the team when it launched, so my info may be out of date.

What players are being asked to do is find loop invariants for code. The invariants are hard for a computer to come up with (and be useful), but are easier to check given certain bounds. So there is no predetermined win state, each answer is checked server-side to see if it holds up within the bounds (or, if the answer is already known, the cache hit is returned). If the invariant is complex and holds, it gets scored highly. If it's trivial and holds, it gets a lower score. If it doesn't hold, the instance where it doesn't hold is returned to the player.

Does this help?

about a year ago
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In UK, Computer Science Graduates the Least Employable

Lewisham Re:CS degrees are NOT worthless (349 comments)

I'd like to see you have the balls to actually mention which university you seem intent on slagging off for some bizarre ego-trip on Slashdot, of all places.

If you're going to go into such a vitriolic rant, I think you owe that university, and us, that much.

more than 4 years ago
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Archiving the History of Virtual Worlds

Lewisham Re:Are we running out of stuff to do? (127 comments)

I know this is Slashdot, and actually RTFA is rare, but had you actually done so, you'd have read this:

'"When you are trying to preserve anything you are trying to preserve the most important things about that artefact," she said. "With video games we do not yet know what is important."'

CNN and Fox are being archived very well already. But we have large gaps, and it's important to keep as much as we can, just in case.

We've been very good thus far at preserving our culture for studies by future generations, but that was because everything we made was stored in a physical entity. It didn't matter whether the creators thought it important or not, we at least could come back to it in later generations if we needed to.

The Digital Age has meant we're losing huge swathes of information because we can't keep up. Archive.org is going to be amazingly important, but it'll take later generations to figure out why.

I'm very pleased that someone has realized that the beginnings of virtual worlds will also be important. We can't possibly contemplate where they're going to go in just 50 years. We're going to want to know how they started when we get there.

more than 6 years ago

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