NewsBrief February 28, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: February 28, 2020

How one data-driven agency — the Census Bureau — found extra value in machine learning

(fedscoop) Like many agencies, the Census Bureau looks for reductions in expenses and workloads when it makes decisions about machine learning. But the agency has discovered another advantage in the technology: It can find data that employees never knew they needed. More than 100 different surveys are handled by siloed programs within the Census Bureau, and the capture, instrumentation, processing and summation of the resulting data is “really hard to manage,” said Zachary Whitman, chief data officer, at an AFCEA Bethesda event Wednesday. The bureau’s dissemination branch exports data in a consolidated system where discovery and preparation is “difficult” for employees, Whitman said. So the agency is piloting ML that flags valuable information employees may not have even been searching for originally. Read More

DOD releases first AI ethics principles, but there’s work left to on implementation

(FCW) The Defense Department has officially adopted a set of principles to ensure ethical artificial intelligence adoption, but much work is needed on the implementation front, senior DOD tech officials told reporters Feb. 24. The five principles, which are based on the recommendations of the Defense Innovation Board’s 15-month study on the matter, represent a first step and generalized intentions around AI use and adoption including being responsible, equitable, traceable, reliable, and governable. DOD released the principles during a news briefing Feb. 24. Those AI ethical guidelines will likely be woven into a little bit of everything, like cyber, from data collection to testing, DOD CIO Dana Deasy told reporters. Read More

How private companies help the FBI identify more cybercriminals

(Fifth Domain) SAN FRANCISCO — Private companies have a crucial role to play in assisting the Department of Justice and FBI as they gather information to charge malicious cyber actors with crimes, especially as the department views criminal charges as a form of indictments, a top FBI cyber official said Feb. 26 at the RSA Conference. Adam Hickey, deputy assistant attorney general of the national security division at the Department of Justice, said that companies reporting breaches to the Justice Dept. allows the agency to begin an attribution process that may ultimately result in criminal charges. Contacting law enforcement, Hickey said, was the “responsible” thing for companies to do. “That [contact] is critical to the attribution question a lot of the times,” Hickey said, because the law enforcement can the work “backwards from whatever breadcrumbs are on the network of the victim to figure out on our end who did it.” Read More

NOAA Unveils Artificial Intelligence Strategy

(ExecutiveGov) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released a new strategy to help expand the application of artificial intelligence in its missions. The NOAA AI strategy sets five goals to improve coordination, understanding, application and awareness of AI across the agency and one of the goals is establishing efficient organizational processes and structure to advance AI. There are five supporting objectives for the first goal, including the establishment of an AI center or a similar entity to facilitate coordination of AI research, data acquisition and algorithm development, among others. Read More

NASA Tech Could Replace Passwords with Your Heartbeat

(Nextgov) NASA produces cutting-edge products and solutions for space exploration that often have untapped applications here on Earth. Through its Technology Transfer Program, businesses can license NASA-developed technologies and from them create and manufacture innovative commercially relevant uses for public benefit. The space agency on Monday launched several new technology transfer opportunities for potential applications related to health, medicine and biotechnology. Read More

OPM Announces Adjustments to Annual Time-to-Hire Metrics

(Government Executive) The Office of Personnel Management on Tuesday announced that it is updating the requirements for how agencies should report their annual time-to-hire metrics to include recent innovations in the federal hiring process, and to provide more detailed data on how long it takes to hire a new worker. OPM has been tracking how long it takes to hire new federal workers since 2008. Until this year, agencies were only required to detail how long it took to hire someone through USAJOBS, measuring from when a hiring need is validated until the new employee’s first day at work. Read More

Next-level sales talent: HR’s message to the CEO

(McKinsey & Company) How the right data-driven approach can bolster sales-force performance—and help HR draw a direct line from talent to revenues in conversations with the CEO. Last time on McKinsey Talks Talent, we talked about the financial risks of neglecting your people strategy. Today, we’ll explore how taking a data-driven approach to managing talent in your sales force can step up top-line growth. Read More

The Human Cost of Missing Data in Prisons

(Route Fifty) Across the country, the nation’s prisons and jails face major challenges—including understaffing, outdated facilities and insufficient medical care—that can foster violence that jeopardizes both inmates and staff. Many states are trying to tackle these problems, but they face a basic impediment: A lack of data that leaves decision-makers stymied in reaching good policy decisions. “It’s a grave problem,” say Adam Gelb, a nationally-recognized expert about incarceration and president of the Council on Criminal Justice. “In most states we don’t have anywhere near the bandwidth of information to assess how well or poorly prisons are fulfilling their mandates.” Read More

New patented invention stabilizes, rotates satellites

(Space Daily) Many satellites are in space to take photos. But a vibrating satellite, like a camera in shaky hands, can’t get a sharp image. Pointing it at a precise location to take a photo or perform another task, is another important function that requires accuracy. Vedant, an aerospace engineering doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was working on a way to eliminate vibrations on a satellite when he discovered his invention could also rotate the satellite. “We developed, with NASA”s Jet Propulsion Lab, a way to cancel out the vibrations of a satellite by vibrating the solar panels in the opposite direction – active noise cancellation,” Vedant said. “After developing a mathematical model and using random inputs, I realized I could make the satellite move away from the original resting point, which was unexpected. Read More

Possible new ‘minimoon’ discovered orbiting Earth

(Live Science) Tumbling through Earth’s increasingly crowded orbit are about 5,000 satellites, half a million pieces of human-made debris and only one confirmed natural object: the moon. Now, astronomers working out of the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory think they may have discovered a second natural satellite — or at least a temporary one. Meet 2020 CD3, Earth’s newest possible “minimoon.” Read More