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So why DARPA opens world coffers of innovation?
Material posted: Publication date: 27-07-2014

Tell me, what do you compare military design? The author of these lines — first with secrecy, with stamped formula of the Oath: "strictly keep military and state secrets...". And even more mysterious were the developments, which have not yet had time to get into combat units. But now we are seeing an unprecedented case: DARPA, the defense advanced Agency development, laid out in open access the public directory of open source projects, and even under open licenses! What happened? Do defense Agency of the USA has fallen into the pathological pacifism?

First of all let's see what DARPA Open catalog (Open Catalog). You can find it in the link above and look at the projects presented there. Their source codes are laid out on the resource GitHub under a free license different varieties: ALv2, BSD, GPL, GPLv3, LGPL, MIT... And relate these projects to the most interesting and promising areas of current information technology. All those that day in, day writes "Computerra" and which transform the modern world.

If we go by the alphabet, what's that up ahead — "big data"? In a Public directory we see created by Continuum Analytics library for interactive visualization of "big data" Bokeh. It is written in Python and allows working in modern network architectures, to solve for thin clients the problem is simple and elegant display of large amounts of data. Really, what's the point in their accumulation, if they are not clearly displayed? (I would like to note how gracefully the developers have called the library — Japanese "bokeh", the artistic blurring of the background, the efforts of marketers of fotoform know now...)

There is among the developers of the projects submitted in a Public directory, and enormous military contractors like Boeing — they created a library for building scalable Bayesian networks SMILE WIDE. "Wide smile" provides developers who may need mass Bayesian processing (and tell me in what area it applications it now, you may not need?) simple and convenient API similar to the existing API SMILE, but was able to perform vector operations due to the fact that under the interface hides the distributed implementation on Hadoop. "Source" can be seen here.

So even the first two applications that we looked fit and healthy not only for big data and cloud computing, smart machines, new appearance of the world wide web... And there's more interesting Numba — optimizing compiler open source for Python, also developed and maintained by Continuum Analytics, Inc., available under the BSD license, and lots of other interesting software. And all this is now available to anyone! A little weird, huh?

Especially considering that were created are presented in a Public directory of the program XDATA — which the Agency defense advanced developments in implementing the process of establishing more effective information systems to design weapons. It is for military purposes were originally created those tools to work with "big", "imperfect" and "incomplete" data (large, imperfect and incomplete data); those scalable library for visualization and statistical processing, are now posted under open source license.

A little unusual, yeah? After all, it is generally accepted that the overwhelming proportion of the cost of modern weapons systems falls on its computer system and software. And that China maintains an active intelligence activities in the U.S., the local press began to write as soon as ends the next portion of Snowden's revelations ("Exposing China's cyber espionage campaign hasn't lessened scope, US says"). That is what tried to steal and networking ninja, and traditional embedded agents, laid out to the public...

Is this not analogous to what would happen if suddenly year in 1943 in the print data of the Manhattan project that uranium-graphite reactors are quite suitable for plutonium production? Because such information is very useful to Herr Heisenberg and the team that worked in "Viral wing"; in the anti-fascist orientation of German scientists, there is no need to doubt, as in that sincere anti-fascists they are 10 may 1945, if you count the time in our...

In search of an answer to this question please refer to the official press release from DARPA ("DARPA OPEN CATALOG MAKES AGENCY-SPONSORED SOFTWARE AND PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE TO ALL"). And here we see an absolutely pragmatic answer to the above questions. The fact that the publication of the public catalogue of research works, performed by means of DARPA, was a sine qua non that invested in these design tools will be fully effective it is! It was demanded by the community itself R & D, to which DARPA and listened.

The fact is that — as stated in the press release — a program of research and development, paid by the Pentagon and other U.S. government agencies, for a long time already contain the requirement to submit upon completion, the software is open source. In particular, such software can be well verified, it can be checked as to how well it solves the tasks assigned to him and does something unnecessary (the most notorious "bookmarks").

In addition, the Pentagon — contractor giant, the mass of firms and the mass of temporary research teams, mainly at universities (look at the composition of developers in a Public directory), whose role in the military-industrial complex of the USA is extremely high since those times, as Enrico Fermi assembled his first reactor under the bleachers of the tennis court. And these are very dynamic groups should be able to use in our developments, the results obtained by their customer, the U.S. government.

In principle, the problem can be solved in the framework of the "proprietary" models of code. Because the owner-then just this one. Create government "closed" libraries and make there working on government contracts... But the precedent was this — he called the Soviet Union, and all of it was public, but really public. And, it would seem that there is interaction between those who worked on defense contracts, provided easy... yeah, wait! To get something for KB of minoboronprom from the depths of Minaviaprom was harder than getting bourgeois development.

A piece of metal about the Lockheed was to write a query exploration — and with a non-zero probability in the foreseeable future was bringing and a sample and some documentation. And to get something from neighbors in "the nine" it was impossible, in spite of decisions-orders beyond that there is a military industrial complex and the Central Committee. Had to resort to complex diplomacy and barter on the scheme — a package of aerodynamic programmes in exchange for "liquid to clean optical surfaces", poured by the ten-litre canister white stainless steel... And to think that the Yankees might be different is naive: people are people.

And so DARPA has gone on what has been created as a result of the defense research code laid out in open access. So with this code it will be easier to organize joint work, migrating the data to other sub-sectors. It's easier to organize the assessment of effectiveness and identification of vulnerabilities in code. But the availability of this code to the civilian experts — from student days — will dramatically increase the number of developers capable to take up a government project of large volume. Here's a direct use for specific tasks DARPA.

And there is indirect, but that which outweighed all the benefits of specialized tasks. It occurs during the transfer of DARPA developments in the civil sphere. In General defense of this useless Agency. The USSR was not going to attack the USA, the Marxist doctrine was considered by the Yankees as potential builders of communism, cotton growers of Louisiana, which should please the Washington obkom high yields. And wall street the Russians were not in the form of charred radioactive corpses, and as consumers of Cola, burgers and provoking the thought of gentle hands dentist chocolate with filling...

But the Internet — product development DARPA — has transformed the world. We are with you, dear readers, can only communicate due to the fact that a global network exists... And only the benefits from the Internet economy has received U.S. companies, hardly be measured in quantitative terms. (Well, take a couple rowers, nerd-a programmer, a dashing financier, and as a result, one Facebook at a price equal to one and a half "Gazpromom"...) And now DARPA is waiting for an even greater effect from the application of its developments in the field of Industrialization 2.0 (The"Industrial production returns to the United States"), the introduction of "smart" machines, flexible manufacturing systems...

Well, reason to fear competition with other countries in the Americans, apparently, no. This nuclear project was to reproduce the concentration of resources under strict administrative control. The current network economy can be built only by the free initiative of the market of large numbers of interacting people. A critical mass of developers and innovative entrepreneurs exist only in the US. Well, we can change their situation for the better only through the patient accumulation of knowledge and innovative businesses, and can help the Open directory, which is worth a look for anyone who works in it!

Michael Baths


Tags: innovation , USA , DARPA

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