Weaponized code

This morning someone asked me if I could “weaponize” his code, i.e. turn his research software into something robust enough for production. I like that term.

12 thoughts on “Weaponized code

  1. To me the term sparked cyber security implications though. I would try “industrialize” but indeed “weaponize” sounds a lot better.

  2. Really, weaponize? You want your code to inflict damage on users? The furthest I usually go is “harden” (against attacks) or “idiot-proof” (against idiocy). Weaponize implies you’re going on the offensive.

  3. TomF: Weaponized for battle against the problem the user wants to solve, strong enough to work in an unforgiving environment.

  4. Any chance the person you were working with is in Biochemistry or a related field? The term ‘weaponize’ there is used in this sense and for good reason: Many biochemical effects were detected in compounds which were modified to increase the effects to damaging levels (weaponizing) especially in the 1940-1970s period. Hello nerve gases etc.

    Many of the comments here seem to suppose ‘weaponize’ means ‘idiot-proof’. In fact it’s used to mean ‘make more potent’ or ‘isolate the core, useful essense of’. Also, while the origins of the word is violent, I often hear this term from doctors and other medical students describing the modification of medicines.

  5. I agree with TomF, weaponize doesn’t seem to be the right word here. At NASA, we used the term “flight-ready” to indicate robustness, even if the software wasn’t going aboard a vehicle; we’d also call robust software “mil spec” even though it wasn’t for the military. To weaponize means to give something fangs, not enhance its robustness.

  6. What’s harder, I think, is making underlying designs and algorithms robust, even if the code is solid. I’m not saying making code solid is not important. Indeed, a lot of “released code” seems to evade quality assurance, and is “made better” by being fixed after customers have problems with it. I agree with I. J. Kennedy, that perhaps my expectations are (too) high, as I spent 20 years in the military, aerospace, and embedded controls world (e.g., safety code for nuclear power reactors). Still, even there I sometimes saw algorithms originally designed for bombers transplanted into helicopters with but a modicum of additional simulation to verify that the original assumptions were met. Scary.

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