NewsBrief May 14, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: May 14, 2021

DOD takes automation a step further with machine learning

(fedscoop) Automating tasks has long been a goal of large workforces, and none is larger than the Department of Defense. With financial management systems that process a more than $700 billion budget annually, getting a helping (digital) hand can reduce wasted labor hours and costly mistakes. But simple automation sometimes is not enough to help solve more complex challenges, like pairing unmatched transactions in databases. That’s why the Defense Innovation Unit teamed up with the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center to inject a boost of machine learning so that robotic process automation (RPA) can approach more complex tasks, like finding mislabeled and unmatched transactions. Read More

4 Ways Artificial Intelligence Impacts The Manufacturing Industry

(iot for all) Artificial intelligence is everywhere, and we use it in our everyday lives without even realizing it. Artificial intelligence has made a lot of progress over the years. It can impact many different industries, and this is mainly due to its improved processing, algorithms, and the amount of data it holds. Machine learning provides the data to be analyzed, followed by critical insights, and it has a huge impact on the manufacturing industry. Here are 4 ways that artificial intelligence has impacted manufacturers: Read More

GSA leads rise in automation projects governmentwide

(fedscoop) The General Services Administration has saved about 50,000 labor hours in 2021 alone by automating work. On top of that, a dozen machine learning and artificial intelligence projects are in the pilot or developmental phase, while four more are fully operational, according to an agency spokesperson. The projects are part of GSA‘s “eliminate, optimize or automate” effort over the last two years, an effort that’s only speeding up over time, the spokesperson said. “We expect that the velocity of AI/ML adoption will accelerate similar to our [robotic process automation] program over the next few years,” the spokesperson said. “The various pilots and projects are on different deployment timeframes but cover all our primary mission areas including Public Buildings Service, Federal Acquisition Service, finance, IT and HR.” Read More

NASA JPL building models of its petabytes of data with artificial intelligence

(Federal News Network) NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory is capturing more data than ever in its history. That has Program Manager and Principal Computer Scientist Daniel Crichton excited about his mission: Using data to understand Earth, the solar system and beyond. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are critical to automating or extracting insight from the hundreds of petabytes of data generated by JPL. From this planet, to the Mars rover and observatories touring outer space, machine learning and AI present immense opportunities, he said. In many cases, better tools are to credit – or blame – for more data. Read More

GAO Raises Issues of Federal-Contractor Mix in Key DoD Office

(FEDweek) The DoD office overseeing intelligence and security matters has gained responsibilities in recent years but contracting has accounted for most of the resulting growth in staff, raising questions about the proper mix of federal vs. contractor employees, GAO has said. A report said that over the last half-dozen years the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security has picked up new responsibilities in the areas of areas of artificial intelligence, law enforcement, personnel vetting, and identity intelligence, among others. Overall staffing remained relatively flat for several years before increasing, but almost all of the increase came from contractors and military personnel on non-permanent assignments, it found. Read More

Space Force wants to become the first true ‘digital service’

(fedscoop) The Space Force, the newest branch of the military, wants to take advantage of its institutional youth and become the first “digital service” in the military. The goal is to have its members — dubbed guardians — be digitally fluent and have their space operations revolve around being “an interconnected, innovative, digitally dominant force,” according to its recently published “Vision for a Digital Service” document. Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond said it’s a necessity that the Space Force be digital, as conflicts in space will involve operating high-tech satellites, not the physical combat typical in other military services. Force leaders have expressed this notion often in the past, but this is the first time they’ve put it into doctrine. Read More

Digital: The next horizon for global aerospace and defense

(McKinsey & Company) Aerospace and defense (A&D) companies create some of the world’s foremost technological marvels and have pioneered applications of digital and analytics technologies in many of their products. However, now digital presents a new opportunity for A&D companies to embed it across their value streams, enabling them to design, build, and service products with greater speed, efficiency, and quality. A new McKinsey research effort, in partnership with the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), found that advancing the digital maturity of the A&D value stream could unlock $20 billion in annual EBITDA (see sidebar “About the research”). This value would come from both cost and growth opportunities across the value stream—from engineering to supply chain, manufacturing, aftermarket services, and support functions. Read More

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Heads for Earth with Asteroid Sample

(NASA) After nearly five years in space, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is on its way back to Earth with an abundance of rocks and dust from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu. On Monday, May 10, at 4:23 p.m. EDT the spacecraft fired its main engines full throttle for seven minutes – its most significant maneuver since it arrived at Bennu in 2018. This burn thrust the spacecraft away from the asteroid at 600 miles per hour (nearly 1,000 kilometers per hour), setting it on a 2.5-year cruise towards Earth. After releasing the sample capsule, OSIRIS-REx will have completed its primary mission. It will fire its engines to fly by Earth safely, putting it on a trajectory to circle the sun inside of Venus’ orbit. Read More

NASA’s giant Webb telescope succeeds in key pre-launch test

(SpaceDaily) The world’s largest and most powerful space telescope unfolded its giant golden mirror for the last time on Earth on Tuesday, a key milestone before the $10 billion observatory is launched later this year. The James Webb Space Telescope’s 21 feet 4 inch (6.5 meter) mirror was commanded to fully expand and lock itself into place, NASA said — a final test to ensure it will survive its million-mile (1.6 million kilometer) journey and is ready to discover the origins of the Universe. Read More

AI Being Tapped to Understand What Whales Say to Each Other

(aitrends) AI is being applied to whale research, especially to understand what whales are trying to communicate in the audible sounds they make to each other in the ocean. For example, marine biologist Shane Gero has worked to match clicks coming from whales around the Caribbean island nation of Dominica, to behavior he hopes will reveal the meanings of the sounds they make. Gero is a behavioral ecologist affiliated with the Marine Bioacoustics Lab at Aarhus University in Denmark, and the Department of Biology of Dalhousie University of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Read More