NewsBrief November 8, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: November 8, 2019

GSA Launches Artificial Intelligence Community of Practice

(ExecutiveGov) The General Services Administration has launched a community of practice dedicated to the government-wide adoption of artificial intelligence technologies. GSA said Thursday its new AI CoP will aid in machine learning and deep learning, robotic process automation, human-centered interactions, natural language processing, rule-based automation, and robotics. The effort also supports the federal government’s collaborative strategy to propagate and secure AI technology across the U.S. in partnership with industry, academia and foreign nations. Read More

Postal Service will use AI to process package data faster

(fedscoop) The U.S. Postal Service expects to process package data 10 times faster after adopting an artificial intelligence system for reading address labels more accurately. On Tuesday, NVIDIA announced that technology featuring its V100 Tensor Core graphics processing units (GPUs) will be used at 192 mail processing and sorting centers nationwide by spring 2020. USPS processes and delivers 485 million pieces of mail daily, producing a vast amount of visual data that is difficult for the central processing units it currently uses to handle on their own. Read More

Demystifying the Intelligence of AI

(MITSloan) As artificial intelligence evolves and becomes more intelligent, it’s important for organizations to question its power. Certainly, AI is being designed to help organizations make jobs more efficient, streamline business processes, and acquire and retain more customers. Companies that haven’t yet incorporated AI are tempted by its operational promises. They’re also tempted by a sense that AI is a tool that will be vital to ensuring competitive advantage, relevance in a rapidly changing world, and not being inadvertently left behind. Read More

Artificial networks shed light on human face recognition

(ScienceDaily) Our brains are so primed to recognize faces — or to tell people apart — that we rarely even stop to think about it, but what happens in the brain when it engages in such recognition is still far from understood. In a new study reported today in Nature Communications, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have shed new light on this issue. They found a striking similarity between the way in which faces are encoded in the brain and in successfully performing artificial intelligence systems known as deep neural networks. Read More

Contractors seek supply chain clarity ahead of full federal ban on Huawei, ZTE

(fedscoop) Government contractors want the General Services Administration to clarify its expectations before barring agencies from working with vendors that have supply chain ties to some Chinese-based companies, like Huawei and ZTE, among others. A range of industry and legal experts representing large and small telecom, IT, cybersecurity, real estate, and construction companies met with GSA officials Wednesday to express their concerns with the forthcoming ban. Viewing the U.S. supply chain as a beachhead for economic espionage by foreign adversaries, namely China, lawmakers added language to the National Defense Authorization Act of fiscal 2019 banning some companies seen as economic, intellectual property and national security threats. Read More

Schumer proposes $100B tech ‘moon shot’ versus China

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON ― With an eye on China, the U.S. Senate’s top Democrat is floating plans for a new, deep-pocketed agency to invest $100 billion into cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics and fifth-generation networking known as 5G. Speaking at a conference of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intellgence on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., floated his plans for a new technology-focused subsidiary of the National Science Foundation, which would work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which would be the foundation’s analogue within the Defense Department. Read More

GSA picks 75 vendors for $5.5B IT products contract

(Federal News Network)The General Services Administration today awarded the next great multiple award governmentwide IT contract. The Second Generation Information Technology (2GIT) blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) went to 75 companies, including 56 small businesses. The MAC could be worth $5.5 billion over five years. The BPAs consists of five distinct IT line items: Read More

How the Air Force plans to find ‘defense unicorns’

(C4ISRNET) Dozens of space companies descended on San Francisco, California Nov. 5 for a unique opportunity: the chance to walk away with a same day contract with the Air Force. Opportunities like that don’t happen every day for smaller businesses and start-ups, but at the first Air Force Space Pitch Days, 30 companies presented ideas to Air Force acquisition leaders who were authorized to hand out contracts on the spot. At the end of the first day, the Air Force had issued $9 million in contracts to 12 companies, with more companies slated to pitch their ideas on day two. Read More

AF Spaceplane Lands After 780-Day Flight

(FEDweek) The Air Force’s experimental spaceplane landed safely at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., after completing a 780-day consecutive orbital flight. With the landing, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle broke its own flight record. In total, the X-37B has spent 2,865 days in flight. The service intends to use the spacecraft and further iterations of its ilk as a reusable unmanned platform, from which teams of scientists and engineers would conduct experiments relating to long-endurance operations in space. Read More

Pentagon partners with GSA on procurement pilot to replace military recruitment system

(fedscoop) The Pentagon has partnered with the General Services Administration to use a pilot procurement program to replace its outdated system for determining recruits’ qualifications for military service. The Department of Defense wants to refresh the current, legacy version of the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command’s Integrated Resource System (USMIRS) to meet Defense Digital Service security standards. The original system is set to be retired in March 2021. Read More