US to develop software that never needs updates

The US military has launched a project to design software that adapts to change without any need for update cycles.

On 8 April the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced a four-year project to build software that lasts for a century. The BRASS program will:

“investigate the fundamental computational and algorithmic requirements necessary for software systems and data to remain robust and functional in excess of 100 years”

The idea is that the software dynamically adapts to changes in resources and environments, changes which will be monitored by the software itself. The BRASS project will proceed on the assumption that an entirely new clean-slate approach to software design, composition and adaptation is needed.

DARPA justified the project as a national-security priority to ensure that military systems continue to function. In the words of program manager Suresh Jagannathan:

“The inability to seamlessly adapt to new operating conditions undermines productivity, hampers the development of cyber-secure infrastructure and raises the long-term risk that access to important digital content will be lost as the software that generates and interprets content becomes outdated.”

For more information about BRASS, please refer to the Broad Agency Announcement at: