The Defense Department says it is hosting a huge hacking competition next month in Las Vegas to “automate the cyber defense process.”  The competition will place an emphasis on the vulnerabilities in the world’s growing network of connected devices, also known as the Internet of Things.

The Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC)  will be hosted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and will pit machine against machine in what DARPA calls the “world’s first automated network defense tournament.”

According to DARPA, today’s approach to cybersecurity depends on computer security experts, who basically identify new flaws and threats and “remediate” them by hand.

This process can take over a year from first detection to the deployment of a solution, by which time critical systems may have already been breached. This slow reaction cycle has created a permanent offensive advantage, DARAPA explained.

The contest seeks to automate this cyber defense process, fielding the first generation of machines that can discover, prove and fix software flaws in real-time, without any assistance. If successful, the speed of autonomy could someday blunt the structural advantages of cyber offense, according to DARPA.

The contest is free and open to the public and will precede the 24th DEF CON hacker convention in Las Vegas.