Northrop Grumman Awarded DARPA Contract for Gamebreaker Programme

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Northrop Grumman Corporation was recently awarded a contract from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Strategic Technology Office (STO) for the Gamebreaker programme. This innovative program seeks to develop and apply artificial intelligence (AI) to existing real-time strategy games to break a complex model or create an imbalance. Northrop Grumman will use this opportunity to evaluate and develop technology to improve flexible planning, optimisation and discovery in products that operate dynamic environments.

“Using AI to exploit engagement models can help to enable intelligent systems that could in turn enhance military strategy,” said Susan Wilson, director, intelligent mission capabilities and advanced technology laboratory, Northrop Grumman. “We are exploring how we may be able to use this methodology in the future,” she said.

Northrop Grumman’s Gamebreaker team includes Hazardous Software and Slitherine Software’s Matrix Games. Working closely together, this partnership will use advanced AI techniques to model and break balance within a highly complex simulator environment called “Command: Modern Operations”, the company said in a statement Aug 12.

“Hazardous Software Inc (HSI) is excited to continue our partnership with Northrop Grumman,” said Christopher Hazard, CEO, Hazardous Software. “Building upon our 13 years of history modeling dynamic adversarial scenarios and leveraging the Diveplane machine learning platform, HSI’s approach to Gamebreaker complements Northrop Grumman’s longstanding experience and technology capabilities.”

“Command Professional Edition is the only wargame being analyzed by DARPA in the Gamebreaker programme,” said Iain McNeil, CEO, Slitherine Software. “We are very interested to see how the AI behaves and if it manages to identify loopholes that need assessment, or it comes up with innovative strategies that are applicable to the real world.”

Hazardous Software Inc. (HSI) creates technology that enables and incentivises people to operate strategically in uncertain environments, regardless of whether it is a game, a simulation, or a real-life event.  HSI leverages its unique capabilities in counterfactual reasoning and through understandable artificial intelligence via its relationship with Diveplane Corporation, a company it spun out in 2017.

Still image of Command Professional Edition (Photo courtesy of Slitherine Software)

Matrix Games specialises in COTS physics-based simulations and strategy video games. Through careful research and development, commercial simulations are turned into modern and powerful programmes that are able to replicate complex military operations, from tactical and operational to analytical. Matrix Games, utilising the Flashpoint Campaigns Sim, has now been appointed to year 2 of the ATHENA Prototype Project by DEFENSE ENERGY CENTER OF EXCELLENCE (NSTXL) on behalf of the United States Army Future Studies Group. The company is also a “single source” contractor and research and development supplier of the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). – ng/shp/iz