NewsBrief March 5, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: March 5, 2021

How Artificial Intelligence Can Slow the Spread of COVID-19

(Knowledge @ Wharton) A new machine learning approach to COVID-19 testing has produced encouraging results in Greece. The technology, named Eva, dynamically used recent testing results collected at the Greek border to detect and limit the importation of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases among arriving international passengers between August and November 2020, which helped contain the number of cases and deaths in the country. The findings of the project are explained in a paper titled “Deploying an Artificial Intelligence System for COVID-19 Testing at the Greek Border,” authored by Hamsa Bastani, a Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions and affiliated faculty at Analytics at Wharton; Read More

Why So Many Data Science Projects Fail to Deliver

(MITSloan)More and more companies are embracing data science as a function and a capability. But many of them have not been able to consistently derive business value from their investments in big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.1 Moreover, evidence suggests that the gap is widening between organizations successfully gaining value from data science and those struggling to do so. To better understand the mistakes that companies make when implementing profitable data science projects, and discover how to avoid them, we conducted in-depth studies of the data science activities in three of India’s top 10 private-sector banks with well-established analytics departments. Read More

A new set of priorities for the State Department means good data will be in high demand

(Federal News Network) Just prior to the change in administrations, the State Department appointed a new chief data officer. Presuming the Biden State Department wants to use data to inform its decisions, the CDO position should be in high demand. New Chief Data Officer Matthew Graviss joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin for more discussion. Read More

NORAD is using artificial intelligence to see the threats it used to miss

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The U.S. military command charged with watching and protecting North American airspace is now using artificial intelligence to detect the threats that previously slipped its notice. The new capability, named Pathfinder, fuses data from military, commercial and government sensors to create a common operating picture for North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. “It essentially takes and ingests — aggregates — data from multiple systems, data that would in the past have been … left on the cutting room floor and not analyzed or assessed in a timely manner,” said Gen. Glen VanHerck, who commands NORAD and USNORTHCOM, during the Air Force Association’s virtual Air Warfare Symposium last week. Read More

MDA says Alaska-based missile defense radar will be operational in 2021

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — Despite previously reported delays from the Government Accountability Office and the Missile Defense Agency, a key U.S. Air Force radar designed to detect ballistic missile threats appears to be on track to reach initial operational capability in fiscal 2021, according to an MDA announcement. The MDA provided information to the GAO in June that indicated all construction and integration activities for the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR), based at at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, had stopped last March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The program went into “caretaker status,” meaning just a small group stayed at the site to ensure the materials were protected from the elements. Read More

GAO: Federal Human Capital Management has Regressed Over Last Two Years

(Government Executive) The Government Accountability Office reported Tuesday that the federal government’s efforts to address skills gaps at agencies and other workforce planning issues have foundered over the last two years. The federal watchdog agency released its biannual High Risk List, a 300-page report of more than 30 issues across the government that present potential liabilities of at least $1 billion. In this year’s edition of the report, GAO removed the Defense Department’s support infrastructure management from the list, and added two new issues: efforts to prevent, respond to, and recover from drug misuse, and emergency loans for small businesses. Read More

Air Force turns to VR for suicide prevention training

(fedscoop) The Air Force is turning to virtual reality technology to train its airmen to recognize and help others at risk of self-harm. The service is using VR training to put airmen in life-like situations to practice how to get a distressed person help. With social distancing requirements, in-person training and face-to-face conversations pose a greater risk for COVID-19 transmission, a risk reduced by VR training with users communicating through a headset. The Air Force has also embraced VR for other training, like flying and maintenance. The rate of airmen dying by suicide has increased in the past few years, up from a 2018 rate of 18.5 per 100,000 to 25.1 per 100,000 in 2019, according to recent DOD data. Conclusive data on the rate in 2020 is not available, but initial reports indicate a further increase during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic. Read More

Meet the swirlon, a new kind of matter that bends the laws of physics

( Fish school, insects swarm and birds fly in murmurations. Now, new research finds that on the most basic level, this kind of group behavior forms a new kind of active matter, called a swirlonic state. Physical laws such as Newton’s second law of motion — which states that as a force applied to an object increases, its acceleration increases, and that as the object’s mass increases, its acceleration decreases — apply to passive, nonliving matter, ranging from atoms to planets. But much of the matter in the world is active matter and moves under its own, self-directed, force, said Nikolai Brilliantov, a mathematician at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Russia and the University of Leicester in England. Read More

NASA to Provide Update on Perseverance ‘Firsts’ Since Mars Landing

(NASA) Since NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover touched down at Jezero Crater Feb. 18, mission controllers have made substantial progress as they prepare the rover for the unpaved road ahead. Mission team members from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California will discuss mission “firsts” achieved so far and those to come in a media teleconference at 3:30 p.m. EST (12:30 p.m. PST) Friday, March 5. The teleconference audio and accompanying visuals will stream live on the NASA JPL YouTube channel. Read More

Lab-grown black hole analog behaves just like Stephen Hawking said it would

( In 1974, Stephen Hawking theorized that the universe’s darkest gravitational behemoths, black holes, were not the pitch-black star swallowers astronomers imagined, but they spontaneously emitted light — a phenomenon now dubbed Hawking radiation. The problem is, no astronomer has ever observed Hawking’s mysterious radiation, and because it is predicted to be very dim, they may never will. Which is why scientists today are creating their own black holes. Read More