NewsBrief January 17, 2020

Posted by

Cost Estimating NewsBrief: January 17, 2020

Four Ways Leaders Can Gain Value from AI and Advanced Analytics

(Knowledge at Wharton) Advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning are arguably the most powerful general-purpose technologies invented since the dawn of modern computing. Extracting value from these is an imperative for business and society. It requires a deeper understanding and self-reflection among leaders of human strengths and frailties in contrast to that of modern, software-based machines and algorithms, writes Ravi Bapna in this opinion piece. Bapna is a professor of business analytics and information systems at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Companies and societies are at the precipice of rebuilding their foundations to compete in an age of advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Yet, in the real economy — or in the world outside the tech companies — I see more struggle than success in making advanced analytics and AI a management discipline. Read More

Going Beyond Machine Learning To Machine Reasoning

(Forbes) The conversation around Artificial Intelligence usually revolves around technology-focused topics: machine learning, conversational interfaces, autonomous agents, and other aspects of data science, math, and implementation. However, the history and evolution of AI is more than just a technology story. The story of AI is also inextricably linked with waves of innovation and research breakthroughs that run headfirst into economic and technology roadblocks. There seems to be a continuous pattern of discovery, innovation, interest, investment, cautious optimism, boundless enthusiasm, realization of limitations, technological roadblocks, withdrawal of interest, and retreat of AI research back to academic settings. These waves of advance and retreat seem to be as consistent as the back and forth of sea waves on the shore. Read More

Where to store all this intelligence data? How about DNA?

(C4ISRNET) Data is a massive problem for the intelligence community. From the satellite images produced by the National Reconnaissance Office to the bulk communications data swept up by the National Security Agency, the intelligence community is collecting more information than ever before. But where to store it? Data centers are massive warehouses and megawatts of power. The resource-intensive nature of these facilities makes them difficult to scale, and ultimately unprepared for a torrent of data. Now, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity—the organization charged with tackling some of the intelligence community’s most difficult problems—thinks it has a solution: synthetic DNA. On Jan. 15, IARPA officially launched the Molecular Information Storage (MIST) program, an effort to use synthetic DNA to store exabytes (one million terabytes) of data. Read More

How federal agencies can improve data insights and lower storage costs

(fedscoop) Federal agencies can improve how they share data with the public and avoid disrupting data interdependencies as they modernize their IT systems with the help of new enterprise data intelligence tools, according to specialists in a new report. Modern data intelligence tools are becoming more important as agencies prepare to meet new federal data management mandates. Even though most agencies understand how insights from data can fuel efficiency and effectiveness, far fewer understand how to harness data to better serve the mission, say experts in a new report on data management technology produced by FedScoop and underwritten by ASG Technologies. Read More

CISA Says Agencies Have 10 Days to Patch NSA-Spotted Microsoft Vulnerability

(nextgov) Federal agencies have 10 business days to apply security updates to all endpoints affected by 49 vulnerabilities Microsoft identified in a high-profile “patch Tuesday,” under the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency directive issued today. Within that time, federal agencies must have controls in place to ensure new or previously disconnected endpoints are patched before connecting to their networks, according to the directive, which also lays out timelines for agencies to report on their plans. Initial status reports must be made to CISA within the next three business days. Read More

Federal Contracting Trends: What can we Expect in 2020?

(MeriTalk) If 2019 is any indication, Federal contracting in 2020 promises to be a very interesting year. Federal contracting has experienced steady growth – an average of 6 percent year-over-year – for the last five years according to Bloomberg Government. Spending jumped 9 percent in 2018, representing a 50 percent uptick from previous years. A continuation of this growth next year will be driven primarily by an increase in defense spending and wider scaled deployment of new technologies across the Federal government. This growth will present new opportunities, and of course, new challenges for those operating in this space. Here are some top-line issues that will impact Federal contracting in 2020 and beyond. Read More

State Department eyes cloud pilots at overseas posts to improve user experience

(fedscoop) The State Department has started work on allowing overseas posts to customize their business applications in the cloud. The discovery process just ended at one unnamed pilot location, and the department is planning additional pilots in 2020, Brian Merrick, director of State’s Cloud Program Management Office, told FedScoop Tuesday. “The goal really is to make sure that we can manage a cloud-based environment that will allow us to provide the posts the local configuration capabilities they need to be able to deliver to their business customers, while doing it at an enterprise scale, securely, with a single identity,” Merrick said. “And with a single contract and funding model so that we don’t have the overhead costs.” Read More

DOD Aims to Issue Proposed Rule for Certifying Contractors’ Cybersecurity in the Fall

(Nextgov)A sweeping plan to conduct independent third-party cybersecurity audits of prospective Defense Department contractors’ management of sensitive information will be subject to a formal rulemaking process, but the department and the nonprofit organization being established to train and approve certifiers are still moving at a quick clip. “Because we’re doing rulemaking, this isn’t going to roll out as hard and fast as we thought,” said a government official delivering a briefing on Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program at a meeting of the Software Supply Chain Assurance forum today. Read More

Energy Dept. invests $625M in ‘transformative technology’

(Federal Times)The Department of Energy Jan. 10 announced a $625 million investment for quantum research centers. In a news release, the department said the money will be spent over five years to establish two to five multidisciplinary Quantum Information Science (QIS) Research Centers. “QIS is on the threshold of providing transformative technology that will impact discovery science and technological innovation in the coming decades,” said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette in a statement. “At the direction of President Trump, the department will answer the call of the National Quantum Initiative Act through our QIS Centers and ensure that America remains a world leader in this rapidly advancing field.” Read More

Telecom, Software Industry Groups Push Back on Commerce’s Proposed Supply Chain Rule

(Nextgov) Stakeholders providing feedback to the Commerce Department on rules for executing a May executive order that would ban U.S. entities from purchasing information and communications technology from “foreign adversaries” say they should put the proceeding on hold, and examine how they might be affected by related efforts by other parts of the government. And according to comments submitted on the Jan. 10 deadline by the Rural Wireless Association, “the proposed rules may even violate existing federal law.” Smaller rural carriers represented by the RWA would be particularly affected by the executive order, which—while company and country “agnostic”—is seen to be aimed at Chinese telecom equipment providers like Huawei and ZTE. Read More