NewsBrief: January 19, 2024

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: January 19, 2024

The Enduring Power of Data Storytelling in the Generative AI Era

(MIT Sloan Management Review) Today, generative artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT and Gemini perform an impressive set of tasks with just a few simple prompts. They interpret even poorly formed user questions, identify deep domain insights from data, and share answers as well-structured recommendations. Increasingly, these exchanges are getting conversational, using text-to-speech AI technology. AI can answer questions off the bat, like a (true) executive assistant. Not surprisingly, that has led people to question whether the visual presentation of information is relevant anymore — and even to sound a death knell for visualization dashboards and data stories. Read More

International data governance: Managing data across borders

(Federal News Network) Having a solid data governance strategy is essential for ensuring data ​remains consistent, trustworthy, and doesn’t fall prey to misuse. Data governance will only continue to become more crucial as organizations are subject to new data privacy regulations and increasingly rely on data analytics to drive business outcomes. From the COVID-fueled shift to remote work, to economic and geopolitical uncertainty, enterprises have done a lot of evolving and adapting in recent years — and so too have their data governance needs. As Gartner VP analyst Saul Judah put it, “Responding to varying levels of uncertainty in today’s world requires speed and agility, and traditional approaches to data governance are becoming obsolete.” Read More

Experts expect some support for small businesses facing CMMC compliance

(NextGov/FCW) The Pentagon’s proposed updates to the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification — or CMMC — program will require both large and small firms that handle sensitive military information to comply with the same basic cyber requirements, but that doesn’t mean small businesses will be squeezed out of Department of Defense contracts, experts said during a conversation hosted by Washington Technology on Wednesday. The CMMC program — which launched in 2020 and was updated in 2021 — works to ensure that the more than 70,000 companies that do business with the Pentagon are taking the steps necessary to secure controlled unclassified information. Known as CUI, this type of government data is still considered sensitive and in need of protection. Read More

DOD to Accelerate Investments in Defense Industrial Base With New Other Transaction Agreement Vehicle

(US Department of Defense) The Department of Defense today announced the award of an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) to Advanced Technology International (ATI) to serve as the consortium manager for the Defense Industrial Base Consortium (DIBC). This DIBC OTA will enable rapid research and allow access to commercial solutions for defense requirements and innovations from industry, academia, and non-traditional contractors. “The Defense Industrial Base Consortium Other Transaction Agreement will not only help stimulate the growth of the defense industrial base, but it will also enable more rapid execution of Defense Production Act funding,” said Dr. Laura Taylor-Kale, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy. Read More

GAO Recommends Strengthening Interagency Collaboration to Prevent Foreign Interference in R&D Funding

(Executive Gov) The Government Accountability Office has recommended that the Office of Science and Technology Policy facilitate interagency collaboration when identifying whether a funded organization is under foreign ownership, control or influence, or FOCI. In a new report, GAO found that not all agencies use the same tools to vet foreign applicants for research funding and that existing government-wide databases lack common identifying information, limiting the ability to match foreign entities of concern with organizations receiving federal funding. Read More

Discovery changes understanding of water’s history on the Moon

(Moon Daily) New research from a Western University postdoctoral fellow shows the early lunar crust, which makes up the surface of the Moon, was considerably enriched in water more than 4 billion years ago, counter to previously held understanding. The discovery is outlined in a study published in the high impact journal Nature Astronomy. Working with a meteorite she classified as one that came from the Moon while a graduate student at The Open University (U.K.), Tara Hayden identified, for the first time, the mineral apatite (the most common phosphate) in a sample of early lunar crust. The research offers exciting new evidence that the Moon’s early crust contained more water than was originally thought, opening new doors into the study of lunar history. Read More

New research shows that most early galaxies looked like breadsticks rather than pizza pies or dough balls

(Space Daily) Researchers analyzing images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have found that galaxies in the early universe are often flat and elongated, like surfboards and pool noodles – and are rarely round, like volleyballs or frisbees. “Roughly 50 to 80% of the galaxies we studied appear to be flattened in two dimensions,” explained lead author Viraj Pandya, a NASA Hubble Fellow at Columbia University in New York. “Galaxies that look like pool noodles or surfboards seem to be very common in the early universe, which is surprising, since they are uncommon nearby.” Read More

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