DARPA wants you to help with its terrifying schemes... by gaming

If you like playing online games, then you too can help birth some (possibly sinister) software from DARPA. The US Army's slightly insane research division launched its Verigames web portal in late 2013 with five free online games designed to crowdsource coding. How? Like a similar effort that folded AIDS proteins, the games "translate players' actions into program annotations," to kill numerous bugs in systems code, according to DARPA. The first experiment was a success and "produced hundreds of thousands of (code) annotations," so the agency plans to expand the program with five new games.

They're not exactly mindless shooters, though. You'll be tasked to "energize mysterious patterns in a cosmic puzzle machine," "optimize vast networks," and "match quarks in the name of cyber-security," to cite a few examples. If that's your idea of a good time, you can sign up, check out the games here and fire them up in your browser. It's all good fun in the name of science, unless you end up contributing to the rise of some pretty scary machines.