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‘Mayhem’ wins $2M first prize in DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge

Tim Greene | Aug. 8, 2016
Autonomous programs slug it out in first computer-on-computer Capture the Flag competition

During the competition, an entrant dubbed Rubeus (created by a team from Raytheon) was slowed down after issuing a patch to a flaw found by a competitor. The patch apparently sucked up so much CPU that it affected the performance of other services being run on the server.

Later, Rubeus’s logic apparently decided that it was better to remove the patch and remain vulnerable than to do poorly in its availability score.

Organizers spared no expense, with a dozen or so large-screen displays showing the coverage supplied by experts at an anchor desk and a reporter in the pit talking to the teams behind the programs that were competing.

The supercomputers were lit with colored light on a stage at one end of the room. They were isolated from the outside world except for power cables and supercooled water to keep them from overheating.

In order for officials to monitor what they were up to, their activity was recorded to disks that were lifted out by a mechanical robot to be placed in separate computers for reading – creating an air gap from the outside world.

Other competitors were Team CSDS, with just two members from the University of Idaho and a platform named Jima; CRSPY from a team in Athens, Ga.;  and Galactica from a group based in Berkeley, Calif., Syracuse, N.Y., and Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

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