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Not Top Secret: DARPA Shares Files With the Public

<p>The government agency is sharing open-source software and studies on the DARPA Open Catalog.</p>
Bipedal humanoid robot \"Atlas\" is presented to the media during a news conference at the University of Hong Kong.
The Terminator? No, it's Atlas, the bipedal humanoid robot developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from DARPA.Siu Chiu / REUTERS

The secretive government agency responsible for funding and developing advanced robotics projects — including some modeled like humans and galloping beasts — is opening up a little.

Starting on Wednesday, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will be sharing all of its "publically releasable material" on the DARPA Open Catalog.

What kind of stuff will you find in there? DARPA-sponsored software, publications and more, all made available to anybody who wants to sort through them. Granted, unless you have a Ph.D. from MIT, reading through a paper titled "Learning Triggering Kernels for Multi-dimensional Hawkes Processes" probably won't be much fun, but the science community could find the database very helpful.

Besides giving ideas to bad science fiction writers, the database could also provide software developers with some useful open-source code — which, in turn, could benefit DARPA.

“Making our open source catalog available increases the number of experts who can help quickly develop relevant software for the government,” Chris White, DARPA program manager, said in a statement. “Our hope is that the computer science community will test and evaluate elements of our software and afterward adopt them as either standalone offerings or as components of their products.”

DARPA is best known for funding advances in robotics, from the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials it held in Florida in December to bankrolling the YouTube sensations from Boston Dynamics (which was recently bought by Google).