NewsBrief February 12, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: February 12, 2021

US Army begins equipping first unit with hypersonic capability

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON —The U.S. Army expects to deliver — in a little more than 200 days from start to finish — the first hypersonic weapon capability to a unit, a service official said. The Army has sent that unit the equipment it needs to prepare for a rigorous training program, according to Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, director of the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. While the Army has worked with industry to build the hypersonic weapon glide body industrial base, it has also separately produced launchers, trucks, trailers and the battle operation center needed to put together a ground-launched hypersonic weapon battery. Read More

A Cloud-Connected, AI-Enabling Commercial Computer is Heading to the International Space Station

(Nextgov) Among the cargo scheduled to launch into orbit via Northrop Grumman’s resupply mission to the International Space Station on Feb. 20 will be Spaceborne Computer-2, or SBC-2: a Hewlett Packard Enterprise-made edge computing system set to enable in-space, commercial artificial intelligence and real-time data processing capabilities for the first time, HPE detailed Thursday. Designed explicitly for rugged environments, the machine is expected to accelerate experiments astronauts conduct aboard the ISS—and power Earth-based research selected by HPE through proposals it’s now accepting from anyone across the planet. Read More

U.S. Military Turns to New Supercomputers to Push the Limits of Weather Forecasting

(Nextgov) Two new supercomputers named after a pair of iconic military meteorologists make up one powerful system now operational at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where it supports worldwide U.S. Army and Air Force weather modeling and forecasting operations. The roots of this sophisticated computational tool trace back to a $25 million contract unveiled in 2019. It was since built and recently delivered by Hewlett Packard Enterprise to the Tennessee-based national lab managing it, according to a press release. “The system was formally accepted in January and became fully operational on Feb. 8, 2021,” Computing and Facilities Director for the National Center for Computational Science at ORNL Jim Rogers, told Nextgov via email Wednesday. The lab “continues to actively conduct research on this system.” Read More

DOD to get ‘entire spectrum’ of AI testing in upcoming JAIC contract

(fedscoop) The Department of Defense‘s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center plans to issue a multiple-award contract for testing and evaluation services to support all of the department’s AI testing needs. The contract, expected to be awarded sometime in February, will not just be for the JAIC but rather a mechanism for all of the DOD offices working on AI to access private sector support when testing their systems. “What we are looking for is the entire spectrum of support,” Jane Pinelis, the JAIC’s head of AI testing and evaluation, said Tuesday during an AFCEA DC event. That could mean testing an algorithm for bias or checking that it can integrate across systems, Pinelis said. Read More

The Art of Selling Cybersecurity

(Federal News Network) Today’s cybersecurity marketplace is congested due to the government customer having more suppliers than opportunities for vendors. Former CIO of HUD, Gloria Parker and Deputy CIO of HUD, Kevin Cooke, sit down with Cyber Chat’s Host, Sean Kelley, how to position their offerings and their companies. Parker is a political appointee in both the Clinton and Bush Administration’s book titled, “Billion Dollar Secret”; its goal is to help companies and individuals win business. When asked what inspired the book, Parker said “having sat on the CIO side of the fence for 10 years, I watched people come in, meet with me and really waste a lot of time. Read More

Pentagon science office launches program to develop manufacturing in space … and on the moon

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The Defense Department’s emerging technology research arm will invest in new materials and processes that could enable manufacturing in space and on the moon’s surface. To that end, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is launching the Novel Orbital and Moon Manufacturing, Materials and Mass-efficient Design program, or NOM4D. “NOM4D’s vision is to develop foundational materials, processes and designs needed to realize in-space manufacturing of large, precise and resilient Defense Department systems,” said Bill Carter, program manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office, in a press release. Read More

A data-driven approach to improving net working capital

(McKinsey) For many companies across industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a sudden need for cash and has highlighted the significant value that can be gained by optimizing operations for cash generation. As outlined in a previous article, one of the largest opportunities to generate cash is to focus on net working capital. Besides building resilience, managing cash properly allows organizations to finance growth (both organic and inorganic), pay for holistic transformation efforts, and improve capital-return ratios. Read More

Deep Learning Models Have Advantages for Neuroscience, Researchers Find

(aitrends) ANeuroscientists using AI models to simulate the brain are learning more about how the brain works and improving AI models. Deep learning (DL) models have advantages over standard machine learning in brain research, according to findings of researchers at Georgia State University recently published in Nature Communications. “Our findings highlight the presence of nonlinearities in neuroimaging data that DL can exploit to generate superior task-discriminative representations for characterizing the human brain,” stated the paper’s lead author Anees Abrol along with Sergey Plis, Vince Calhoun, Yuhui Du, Rogers Silva, Mustafa Salman, and Zening Fu. Read More

NASA Television to Air Space Station Cargo Ship Launch, Docking

(NASA) NASA will provide live coverage on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app of the launch and docking of a Russian cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station beginning at 11:15 p.m. EST Sunday, Feb. 14. The unpiloted Russian Progress 77 is scheduled to launch on a Soyuz rocket at 11:45 p.m. (10:45 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Following a two-day journey, the spacecraft will automatically link up to the station’s Pirs docking compartment at 1:20 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17. Live coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 12:30 a.m. Read More

Potentially habitable exoplanet candidate spotted around Alpha Centauri A in Earth’s backyard

( The nearest solar system to our own may actually host two potentially life-supporting planets, a new study reports. In 2016, scientists discovered a roughly Earth-size world circling Proxima Centauri, part of the three-star Alpha Centauri system, which lies about 4.37 light-years from Earth. The planet, known as Proxima b, orbits in the “habitable zone,” the range of distances from a star at which liquid water could exist on a world’s surface. (A second planet, Proxima c, was later discovered circling the star as well, but it orbits farther away, beyond the habitable zone’s outer limits.) Read More