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The Military IT Technology

DARPA Issues Call For Computer Science Devotees 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the program-for-the-man dept.
coondoggie writes "The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking for a few good university-based computer science researchers who might be interested in developing systems for the US military. The move is seen, in part anyway, as a way for the agency to win more hearts and minds of the advanced science community."
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DARPA Issues Call For Computer Science Devotees

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  • Theo (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Call on Theo De Raadt

    • by bsDaemon (87307)

      Isn't he a South African living in Canada who makes a product that ships with uber-strong crypto out of the box (like, even encoding the password file in Blowfish by default) and doesn't host any servers in the US to avoid crypto export regulations? As awesome as he would be at somehing like NSA's IAD, he seems to be kind of the opposite of what they're looking for.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:18AM (#32911738) Homepage Journal

    These are JOB postings, guys. Rare enough in the US these days.

    Of course, you'll have to pass a background check, so you all just go ahead.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      I suppose it means to be a US citizen and to not have smoked pot in the past 6 months ? (Which probably leaves only about 25% of slashdotters left)
    • by vadeskoc (1374195)
      Actually, the link I clicked through looked like a relatively ordinary (and not terribly big) grant program. Looks like the news here is maybe just that they are targeting individual junior faculty (rather than the gigantic industry-academia mega-consortium partnership programs that they usually fund)?
    • Did you RTFA? These aren't job postings. You already have to have a very particular job. A mere PhD is not good enough, no you must be employed at a university as a junior faculty member and have received your PhD within the last 7 years. (Amazing how quickly an advanced degree becomes stale. Guess it would have been discriminatory to require that every participant be under the age of 40.) This DARPA program is a way for you to secure your tenured faculty position by bringing in DARPA money.

      Nowadays

      • by RockoTDF (1042780)
        Given how it is a bitch to get an NSF or NIH grant under the age of 40 (or so I am told), as a future academic I am actually happy to see that someone is saying "hey, young faculty, have we got a grant for you! - And even if you hate weapons, you can work on non-weaponized stuff that will one day help civilians as well!"

        I think the reason why it is so hard to have a lab under 30 is because Ph.D.s take longer, and postdocs are more common. Pretty much every professor I know over the age of 40 took four
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        Did you RTFA? These aren't job postings. You already have to have a very particular job.

        It's still an offer of employment, which is a job.

        Just because one of the qualifications is that you have a particular job, doesn't mean it's not a job listing. For example, a job as a full professor often requires that you have a position as an assistant or associate. But they're still "job postings" when you see them in Chronicle of Higher Education.

  • by physburn (1095481) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:23AM (#32911758) Homepage Journal
    Job Spec: As part of this great, well paid opportunity, You will be developing our SkyNet and Colossus robot based anti personnel devices.
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Test in Iraq, deploy at home? You would think they would just buy off the shelf from Australia, UK, Canada, France, Italy or South Africa. People who love and need their death jobs vs the questions of US patriots.
      Have them see their work used in main street USA is a huge emotional security risk.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by radtea (464814)

      You will be developing our SkyNet and Colossus robot based anti personnel devices.

      Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could develop stuff like the Internet without at the same time spending such a vast quantity of otherwise productive wealth on deadweight loss activities like developing weapons systems?

      And if we simply must pour huge amounts of otherwise productive wealth into deadweight loss activities, why not make it space exploration, unlikely-to-pay-off energy research, a cure for the common heartbreak?

      What is it about killing people in large numbers that is so fascinating that it compel

      • So what is it? Why do people build such huge deadweight loss systems, far beyond anything required to simply protect ourselves from invasion by others?

        Here are a few reasons I see:

        1. Offshoring of manufacturing. Weapons are physical things, and most other physical things are now made in China. If you live somewhere like Ohio, weapons development is pretty much what is left. In theory we could make other stuff like windmills, but there is a lot of inertia in economic development. Most people can't just get together with a half dozen friends and start an alternative energy company. But its pretty easy to get into DoD work, because it already exists lo

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200)

        Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could develop stuff like the Internet without at the same time spending such a vast quantity of otherwise productive wealth on deadweight loss activities like developing weapons systems?

        Finally, a slashdove who acknowledges that DARPA actually had a positive role...

        And if we simply must pour huge amounts of otherwise productive wealth into deadweight loss activities, why not make it space exploration, unlikely-to-pay-off energy research, a cure for the common heartbreak?

        What i

        • by ultranova (717540)

          An item of faith among pacifists, particularly those protected by a government willing to use violence at a drop of a hat. But false; violence is quite effective, perhaps uniquely so; that's why all current systems of government are based on it.

          Violence isn't effective. Quite the contrary, it involves tremendous costs; for example, the current running cost of Iraq and Afghanistan wars comes to over one trillion dollars - and let's not forget that these are wars against a hopelessly outmatched foe, and have

          • by russotto (537200)

            Violence isn't effective. Quite the contrary, it involves tremendous costs;

            This is a non sequitur. I never said it was cheap. I merely said it was effective. It's efficiency varies widely.

            Suppose you'd given trillion dollars to, say, NASA instead of blowing shit up? You'd be selling hot dogs at the Moon right now.

            More likely we'd have a couple more half-developed launch platforms destined for cancellation.

            Instead, you used it all to blow shit up half the world over, and accomplished nothing except killin

            • by ultranova (717540)

              This is a non sequitur. I never said it was cheap. I merely said it was effective. It's efficiency varies widely.

              Given infinite resources, almost everything is "effective", since it gets your goal. Given finite resources, whatever gets your goal cheapest is "effective".

              More likely we'd have a couple more half-developed launch platforms destined for cancellation.

              The reason NASA projects get cancelled is that the funding gets cancelled. Give them a trillion dollars and a directive to colonize the Moon with

              • by russotto (537200)

                Given infinite resources, almost everything is "effective", since it gets your goal. Given finite resources, whatever gets your goal cheapest is "effective".

                Infinite resources spent in the wrong way are NOT effective.

                The reason NASA projects get cancelled is that the funding gets cancelled. Give them a trillion dollars and a directive to colonize the Moon with it, and it'll get done.

                Now there's an article of faith. I find it more likely they'd burn through the trillion with various poorly thought out and

      • It certainly isn't any actual utility: violience is the least efficient and effective way of solving any problem.

        There's a saying: violence is like XML. If it isn't solving your problem, you're not using enough of it!

        (A more serious answer would be that at some point or in some cases, only more violence can beat violence. If I'm willing to solve my problems with violence and you aren't, at some point I'm always going to win. Passive resistance only works if I have a sense of shame.)


      • Military technology is a double-edged sword. A peaceful society with white marble libraries, people in flowing robes discussing philosophy and nary a bad word to be heard will be destroyed when the first Viking longboat comes ashore.

        On the other hand, an otherwise peaceful society with fantastically effective military technology might become militarily adventurous. And what the modern communications media is teaching us is that all war - ALL war - results in mangled noncombatants as well as mangled soldier
  • Be spending at home during the hard economic times.
    Trusted partners with security clearances who have been with the US security establishment from their inception*.
    Larger organisations that can bring a wealth of real world experience to any DARPA project.
    Developers who understand the interface needs of raw US armed forces recruits.
    Developers who are committed to security.
    Developers, developers ... Your spending. Our passion, *now with 100% less FSB.
  • as soon as they start issuing salaries that are competitive with the private sector. When I was at university job fairs last year, entry level positions at Microsoft offered almost 50% more than equivalent government jobs, and the latter seemed to have better career opportunities later in life. Not sure if this applies to all professions, or just programmers/computer scientists, but that's who they want apparently.

    I have heard that at the moment wages are increasing faster in the government than the priva
    • I refuse to work for the military or Microsoft until they offer more money than I get as a crack-dealing gigolo hitman.
      • I refuse to work for the military or Microsoft until they offer more money than I get as a crack-dealing gigolo hitman.

        In all fairness that is 3 jobs...

    • by Wiarumas (919682)
      It very well might be a trade off for more job security. From my experiences, private sector may make a bit more at first, but if you work in government, get your clearance, etc, not only will you be matching or surpassing the private sector, but you will have job security far superior than any other market (even health care). Anyone can code Java, but not everyone can code Java and have over $100k invested in them in background checks.
  • From the article: "The restrictions? An eligible participant must be a junior faculty member at a US higher education institution. Participants should be no more than seven years beyond receiving a doctoral degree, pretenure junior faculty, with demonstrated exceptional potential for worldclass contributions to the field of computer science."

    What is "demonstrated exceptional potential"? This makes no sense. Either you have performed exceptionally or you haven't. And what is up with junior faculty? They

  • by bsDaemon (87307)

    The restrictions? An eligible participant must be a junior faculty member at a US higher education institution. Participants should be no more than seven years beyond receiving a doctoral degree, pretenure junior faculty, with demonstrated exceptional potential for worldclass contributions to the field of computer science.

    So, it seems like they only want faculty with the most tenuous positions at their institutions to do projects that will likely be viewed with suspicion by their more senior peers. After completing their project terms, they'll likely be anathema to the other faculty in their departments, and since they don't have tenure and likely won't be able to get it, will be ripe for the poaching. But they pay and benefits are probably a lot better than the universities can muster these days.

    • by jfoobaz (1844794)

      I kind of wonder if they're fishing for the next batch of project managers for information systems projects.

      The previous director of DARPA, wasn't so popular with the research community; he was an engineer from industry, and instituted a regime of (fairly unrealistic) GNG (go/no go) targets in programs every year. If sites didn't hit certain scores on the GNG evals, they lost their funding. Which sounds not too bad on the surface - why would you continue to fund an organization that's not doing well? Exc

  • I wouldn't hire any of my university professors to do anything software related.

    Academics should stay in academia.

  • The move is seen, in part anyway, as a way for the agency to win more heart and braaaaiiiiiinnns of the advanced science community.

    There, fixed that for 'em.

    Interviewer: "At the start, you will be involved with testing this new weapon system."

    Interviewee: "Hey, what happened to the researchers who used to work on this project?"

    Interviewer: "Oh, you know, the tough work here can sometimes just devour you."

    Bad comic: ". . . tip the veal, try the waitress . . ."

  • Assembling a top-notch team is more than just getting some bright bulbs, even the brightest bulbs cannot illuminate a large enough room. Right now these bulbs are being put in a tiny little box, which has such intensity on the inside that they're more likely to burn the box than illuminate it. My guess is they will get 12 awesome computer scientists which will build something very cool under the guise of something noble; however, they could also build something that China might be interested in as well...so
  • of the scientific community would be to stop wasting money developing things that kill people.
  • Some respondents have misread what DARPA is trying to do here. From the announcement, it appears that DARPA is looking to put together a study panel of computer science researchers composed of junior computer science faculty to help them identify promising research areas for the future; they aren't hiring anyone. Some of the panel's ideas will lead to fundable research, and the members of that study panel will have an inside track on getting funded, something that is likely to help them get promoted to a
  • I forgot to thank you at the time for ARPANet.
  • This article is by the same dumbass that wrote the Juno article that was posted here yesterday! Can we put a moratorium on links to this a-hole's column until he learns to convert metric and Imperial units correctly, at the very least?!?! I would give his articles a grain of salt on being accurate in any sense!

  • This has been going on since Day One for DARPA. How do you think this Intertube was developed? Many of the innovations in computers and networks were initiated within DARPA projects. Read some history.
  • ... because I got into the field to write code to help kill people.

    Yes, I know that it's now the Department of Defense, but we seem to be doing a whole bunch of offense lately. Why don't we just go back to what it was originally called - The Department of War? It seems to be much closer to their mandate right now.

    But all of you basement warriors out there won't have to worry. I'm sure that there are plenty of contract whores in academia to pick up the gun.

  • Revolutionary IT is an oxymoron. IT is all about deep infrastructure and you can't revolutionize the status quo; you can only evolutionize it after first understanding it thoroughly and then chipping away at the edges. No prof is willing to immerse him/herself in that level of ritual embowelment just to win a $100k contract.

    Now robotics might be different. A new robot can serve an isolated niche for DARPA which doesn't require the professor to first understand the workings of a huge and complex hierarchi

    • by russotto (537200)

      Revolutionary IT is an oxymoron. IT is all about deep infrastructure and you can't revolutionize the status quo

      You can't? The switch from data centers holding several IBM mainframes to data centers holding lots of x86 boxes wasn't revolutionary?

      • by RandCraw (1047302)

        My point: one proposal by one junior CS DARPA researcher isn't going to revolutionize the US military's software, not even a little.

        And IIRC data centers *evolved*. The transition from COBOL and VMS to PHP and Apache didn't happen overnight.

  • > heart and minds

    Old nomenclature. "Trust and confidence" is the official new.

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