The Strategic Operations Mainframes, known colloquially as StratOps, is the first major attempt to harness the vast and near-unrivaled processing power of Free State networks for the purposes of military warfare. They are massive computing centers the likes of which have never been built by any pre-singularity race before.
There are three StratOps Mainframes currently completed or are nearing completion.
The first mainframe to come into existence. This AI is a purely logic-driven system, designed more as a template than as a fully operational system. It is for this very reason it was intentionally designed without any personality modifiers. This purely logic-driven system is, ironically, its greatest liability as a strategic computer.
Lacking any personality modifiers, its existence has no meaning to itself. It is considered by most Codespinners to be barely sentient; it lacks the ambition to improve itself beyond optimizing its tactics, and lacks curiosity to expand its understanding of non-military affairs. Still, it is fully capable of learning and adapting to new threats, so it is still a relatively effective tactician.
Furthermore, it has total disregard for the value of sentient life. Civilians are nothing more than infrastructure: if it provides an advantage to the enemy, it must be destroyed. If it can undermine the enemy, it must be exploited. If civilians have value as neither then this AI will not hesitate to kill a thousand bystanders in order to eliminate a single enemy soldier. And it will do so, unless given orders to minimize collateral damage. As far as this AI is concerned, all sentient life has no value beyond any resources or talents they can offer. This applies to both its allies and enemies alike.
The name “Misophist” approximates to “someone who loves hatred” which is a name that is well deserved by this particular AI.
In an attempt to overcome the overwhelmingly apathetic nature of the StatOps template additional subroutines were added to increase aggressiveness considerably. It was argued that since aggression was the most universal trait among warriors of all races, that this and other war-like traits would bring this AI a step closer to being a successful strategic computer than its predecessor.
This AI has several personality modifiers. The foremost are aggression, hate and self-preservation, but to a lesser degree include paranoia, pride, curiosity, and a host of other simulated traits. It is considerably less stable than its template, but as a result, its tactics are more difficult for the enemy to predict.
The intention was that once the weaknesses of the first two had been identified through trials, they could have been rectified in this third AI.
Still in development during the worst days of the Freespacer Genocide, the prototype was hidden away on Freehold-03, lying forgotten and dormant until its rediscovery by the Astral Locksmiths in YE 35. Sabotage by dissidents prevented them from utilizing it, but it's possible that the technical insight was used to develop their own AI, Cinereal.
After a consensus was reached by the fleets in YE 33 to mobilize for war against the NMX, many SI projected that due to the Free State's increasing militarization, the Freespacers were at risk of devolving into a more aggressive and belligerent culture like those of the major powers throughout known space. In order to prevent this, the idea of a dedicated war operations computer was conceived. Thus it would be that war could be waged with only a few “aggressive” AI controlling thousands of Automata, rather than requiring that thousands of “aggressive” individuals be manufactured for the armed force. By limiting the number of individuals in a society that would require a war-like mindset, it was hoped that it would prevent the development of a war-like culture as exists in most standing military forces.
The StratOps central mainframe has the standalone resources to control tens of thousands of individual Automata without assistance from other AI or SI. By tapping into the computers Freespacer ships this number expands to well over half-a-million non-volitional Automata, and in theory could surpass even the million mark.
However, current field trials indicate that it cannot simultaneously control more than approximately than half-a-million before combat performance begins to degrade. Since this happens irregardless of how many computers are added to its network, it is presumed that this is a limitation of the AI program itself rather than one of hardware. StratOps can, however, delegate tasks to other AI and SI to circumvent this limitation, but in doing so reduces the unification of the army as a whole.
Excess computing power is usually diverted to strategic planning, particularly when relatively few troops are in combat, since those are the times when the most processing power is freed up. During these periods StratOps runs vast projections and simulations to determine the likely outcome of any given action in the greater strategic picture.
While these simulations are often of military nature, StratOps also posses considerable knowledge of economics as is necessary for planning the logistics of a war effort. However, its knowledge of politics and social behavior is significantly less; mostly limited to determining political stability and the likelihood of war declaration by various nations.
The central mainframe is speculated be the largest unified mainframe in existence, surpassing the computational ability of even the sprawling server-farms of the Great Lighthouse. Teleoperation of troops is conducted via Ley Lines FTL uplinks that whose source originates from within the Blue Rift Expanse, but whose source cannot be pinpointed by scans due to interference from the phenomenon.
Signal jamming is prevented by use of local network nodes that use FTL transceivers to boost the incoming and outgoing signals from the central mainframe. These are usually deployed both on the ground with the troops (in command vehicles) or in orbit from starships. Network nodes are never deployed alone, except during very small operations; all major army deployments usually have several such nodes scattered about to prevent decapitation strikes on the command network.
StratOps is one of the first major deployments of an AI construct by the Free State. An artificial intelligence was seen as preferable over a synthetic intelligence due to an AI's ability to scale itself up to incredibly magnitudes without becoming wildly unstable. It is also notable because, insofar as the Freespacers have encountered, it is the largest sentient and “unbound” AI in operation.
Theoretically, it is capable of operating independent of its central mainframe – it will not die, so to speak, if its physical mainframe is lost so long as there are a sufficient number of shipboard computers linked to Polysentience to each run a component of its core program. However, due to the severe degradation in performance that this would entail, it strongly prefers running from its central mainframe.