The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the branch of the US Department of Defense responsible for the development of new military technology, wants gamers to test its submarine-tracking simulator. If you think you can best an enemy submarine commander so he can't escape into the ocean depths, you're invited to put yourself into the virtual driver's seat of one of several Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) configurations.

DARPA's ACTUV program is developing a new tool for the Navy's ASW toolkit, but before autonomous software is developed for ACTUV's computers, DARPA needs to determine what approaches and methods are most effective. To gather information from a broad spectrum of users, ACTUV has been integrated into a game called Dangerous Waters. DARPA is offering this new ACTUV Tactics Simulator as a free download over at

The software was written to simulate actual evasion techniques used by submarines, challenging each player to track them successfully. As you'd expect, your tracking vessel is not the only ship at sea, so you'll need to safely navigate among commercial shipping traffic as you attempt to track the submarine. You will earn points as you complete mission objectives, and will be able to check how you rank against against other gamers on DARPA's leaderboard.

As you complete each scenario in the simulation, you can submit your tracking tactics to DARPA for analysis. DARPA says it will select the best tactics and build them into the ACTUV prototype.