The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced recently its intention to create what it calls a "fully automated defense system" - a system which potentially could conduct embedded software testing on itself before conducting its own maintenance. DARPA put out a "grand challenge" to the public, offering a cash prize to the winning team that could make the most valuable contribution to the process. The agency hopes it will be the first step in an important advance, according to Mike Walker, DARPA program manager.
"DARPA's series of vehicle Grand Challenges were the dawn of the self-driving car revolution," said Walker. "With the Cyber Grand Challenge, we intend a similar revolution for information security.
The grand challenge is certainly ambitious - DARPA wants teams automated systems to compete by evaluating each others potential - and a system that could do its own unit testing certainly seems like it still remains a ways off. Testing standards are an incredibly important part of defense software, and although perhaps one day a weapon or plane will be able to do it all on itself, that day does not seem to be imminent just yet.