Gaming to Cut Out Software Flaws

Friday, May 29, 2015 @ 04:05 PM gHale

In a move to prove the absence of certain flaws in software code, there is a new browser-based game that uses problem solving to find security answers.

This new browser-based puzzle game called Monster Proof has players assuming the role of a newly crowned ruler of a vast country in a fantasy setting. To win, they use problem-solving skills to answer illustrated mathematical questions. As each level ends up solved, the game crowd sources the software security process of formal verification.

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To play Monster Proof, players craft a mathematical “proof” that solves the equation. Players use memory, logic and problem solving skills to solve each puzzle and gather the resources needed to run their fantasy kingdom.

Sometimes, partial solutions need to come into play in a series of steps to get the final answer. Monster Proof, created by voidALPHA, provides the conclusion but players must find the assumption that proves it. Each time they do, they build more road to explore the countryside.

voidALPHA teamed up with verification R&D company Galois to take part in Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) CSFV — Crowd Sourced Formal Verification project. Monster Proof is voidALPHA/Galois’ second effort in the project. Their first game was StormBound, a visual pattern recognition game set in an alien universe filled with myth and magic.

“A lot is different in Phase 2 of the Verigames project,” said Aaron Cammarata, chief creative officer at voidALPHA. “Monster Proof builds on many of the lessons we learned on StormBound. This new game is both more entertaining and more effective — we’re getting more results in less time, and early feedback from players has been extremely positive.”

DARPA wants to improve upon traditional formal verification — proving the absence of certain flaws in software code. Currently, formal verification is costly and time-consuming. The Verigames project was to solve this problem through crowd sourcing using fun and engaging video games.

Phase 1 launched five games in December 2013. Utilizing the information learned through game play in 2014, the development teams and mathematicians have created five new games for Phase 2.

Click here to view Monster Proof.

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