Software upgrades and outdated applications that don't work on new platforms are just a fact of life for people who use computers and other devices. DARPA, however, wants to change that by making software systems that can run for over a century without getting updates from their developers and despite upgrades in hardware. Pentagon's mad science department has recently announced that it has begun a four-year research to figure out what algorithms are necessary to create software that "can dynamically adapt to changes." The agency calls the project "Building Resource Adaptive Software Systems or BRASS," and it knows it won't be easy. In fact, DARPA's expecting to build everything from the ground up. In return, though, we could see a whole new list of programs with longer lifespans that are easier to maintain.
"The goal of the Building Resource Adaptive Software Systems program (BRASS) is to realize foundational advances in the design and implementation of long-lived, survivable and complex software systems that are robust to changes in the physical and logical resources provided by their ecosystem," part of its official description says. The agency has started accepting research proposals for every aspect of the project, from which it'll find the most promising to fund.
DARPA is hoping that BRASS will ultimately lead to military computers and machines that don't need to stop running for upgrades, as the process can be costly. Sounds a bit terrifying, considering the project aims to build software that can evolve on its own, much like those villainous programs in movies that gained sentience as time went on.