NewsBrief February 14, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: February 14, 2020

DAU Partners with International Cost Estimating Analysis Association

(DAU) “The backbone to starting a Defense program on the right path is cost estimating,” noted DAU president Jim Woolsey, who enthusiastically advocates DAU’s opportunity to collaborate with the International Cost Estimating Analysis Association (ICEAA). On February 10, Woolsey welcomed Rick Collins, ICEAA president to the DAU campus at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. In a ceremony at DAU headquarters, Woolsey and Collins affirmed a formal partnership between the two organizations. The non-profit ICEAA promotes the profession of cost estimating and offers certifications in cost estimating. The two leaders acknowledged the occasion by signing a memorandum of understanding between DAU and ICEAA. The joint effort with ICEAA positions DAU as a thought leader in the discipline. ICEAA is currently developing a specialty version of its well-known Cost Estimating Body of Knowledge (CEBoK®) to address software development/maintenance cost and schedule estimating best practices. Software CEBoK (sCEBoK) will enable creation of a certification program, a demand that started with the international IT business community several years ago. Read More

VA doctors are using artificial intelligence to diagnose cancer

(MilitaryTimes) A team of researchers at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida, is revolutionizing the way cancer is documented by enlisting the help of a computer to diagnose the disease in one of the largest patient populations in the nation: veterans. Sophisticated artificial intelligence is capable of drastically altering how cancer is diagnosed and treated by learning to distinguish imagery of tissue containing cancerous cells from pictures of healthy tissue, a recent study in the Federal Practitioner journal claims. “Based on a set of images selected to represent a specific tissue or disease process, the computer can be trained to evaluate and recognize new and unique images from patients and render a diagnosis,” the study’s authors wrote. Read More

Bureau of Fiscal Service Looks to Deploy Blockchain, AI for Customer Services

(ExecutiveGov) The Bureau of Fiscal Service has launched two pilot projects focused on blockchain and artificial intelligence technologies to improve customer experience, Federal News Network reported Tuesday. The bureau’s Office of Financial Innovation and Transformation intends to deploy AI to support “chatbot” or virtual assistant features to automate customer support and improve access to Department of the Treasury services. Jennifer Hill, management and program analyst at FIT, told the publication that her office wants to deploy best practices in the private sector and enable acess to the AI-based feature from the web as well as mobile devices. Read More

Army looks to block data ‘poisoning’ in facial recognition, AI

(fedscoop) The Army has many data problems. But when it comes to the data that underlies facial recognition, one sticks out: Enemies want to poison the well. Adversaries are becoming more sophisticated at providing “poisoned,” or subtly altered, data that will mistrain artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. To try and safeguard facial recognition databases from these so-called backdoor attacks, the Army is funding research to build defensive software to mine through its databases. Since deep learning algorithms are only as good as the data they rely on, adversaries can use backdoor attacks to leave the Army with untrustworthy AI or even bake-in the ability to kill an algorithm when it sees a particular image, or “trigger.” Read More

Four Storytelling Techniques to Bring Your Data to Life

(MITSloan) The adage that “our world runs on data” means that decisions are being based on vast amounts of statistics. Data-derived insights drive what time trains stop running, when Starbucks introduces holiday cups, and the temperature of the building you might be sitting in right now. Even though most corporate roles now work with data, it’s shockingly easy to forget that people generate most of it. When a user clicks a link, gets blood taken at the lab, or sets up a smartwatch, that person generates data. As people move, buy, sell, use, work, and live, their actions nudge numbers up or down and drive organizational decisions, big and small. If it’s your role to communicate data insights and persuade people to change their behavior, you’ll have more influence and promote better decision-making if you emphasize the people behind the numbers. Read More

The Night Sky Will Never Be the Same

(The Atlantic) Last year, Krzysztof Stanek got a letter from one of his neighbors. The neighbor wanted to build a shed two feet taller than local regulations allowed, and the city required him to notify nearby residents. Neighbors, the notice said, could object to the construction. No one did, and the shed went up. Stanek, an astronomer at Ohio State University, told me this story not because he thinks other people will care about the specific construction codes of Columbus, Ohio, but rather because it reminds him of the network of satellites SpaceX is building in the space around Earth. Read More

Beyond hiring: How companies are reskilling to address talent gaps

(McKinsey & Company) As technologies and business models continue their rapid evolution, companies are experiencing a step change in the workforce skills they need to thrive and grow. Previous research has shown that as many as 375 million workers globally might have to change occupations in the next decade to meet companies’ needs and that automation could free employees to spend as much as 30 percent of their time on new work.1 Now, in a new McKinsey Global Survey on future workforce needs, nearly nine in ten executives and managers say their organizations either face skill gaps already or expect gaps to develop within the next five years Read More