Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


Karen Jackson named Va. secretary of technology

Virginia’s Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe announced last week he had chosen Karen Jackson to serve as secretary of technology. 

Jackson currently serves as deputy secretary of technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, a post which she has held since 2009. She has advised the current governor on technology matters including modeling and simulation, telecommunications, telework and unmanned aerial systems. She has also been responsible for policy and legislative initiatives and has developed programs to facilitate technology innovation, collaboration, development and adoption.

Jackson serves as vice president of CIT Broadband, an initiative by Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology that offers a “holistic” supply and demand approach to “accelerate the socio-economic growth of Virginia’s rural and underserved areas through the application and use of broadband telecommunications,”  according to CIT.  Additionally, Jackson serves as the Virginia lead for the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership with New Jersey. 

Posted on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:36 AM0 comments


DARPA pushes high-res maps to troops' smartphones

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is arming troops with high-resolution digital maps that can be customized and delivered to smartphones and tablets. 

DARPA's Transformative Apps program provides digital imagery to dismounted troops through secured Android devices, but it also aims to build a library of secure military apps that are as simple to access and use as their commercial counterparts, according to a report in FCW.

Initially soldiers wanted high-resolution maps on a handheld device. However, other requirements emerged, such as heat mapping, a feature crucial to establishing improvised explosive device patterns and routing patrols around them. The capabilities troops need on the ground today continue to evolve, and the goal of DARPA's program is to be able to quickly meet those needs and get solutions into soldiers' hands. 

Read more on DARPA's Transformative Apps program at FCW. 

Posted on Dec 10, 2013 at 8:16 AM0 comments


Pentagon ponders access beyond the CAC

The Defense Department is exploring ways to build on the success of its Common Access Card (CAC) by extending identity management options to mobile devices.

For today’s DOD, mobile identity and access management depends on the CAC, which in turn is tied to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. DEERS is the central database that DOD's Defense Manpower Data Center uses to manage the identities of roughly 42 million troops, civilians, contractors, dependents and retirees. 

DOD officials said they are exploring ways to move the department away from the bulky external card readers on which CACs rely. Officials are examining possibilities in near-field communications — the technology that allows some Android users to share data by touching phones — as well as in derived credentials employed via options such as microSD and SIM cards that are inserted into devices. Even biometric identification is on the table, according to a report in FCW

But any next-generation identity management solutions will have to clear policy and technology hurdles — and not just at the Pentagon. Read more on the challenges of two-factor mobile identification at FCW.

Posted on Dec 09, 2013 at 10:07 AM1 comments


New E-Verify security enhancement helps deter employee fraud

An enhancement to the Homeland Security Department's E-Verify program will help identify and deter fraudulent use of Social Security numbers (SSNs) for employment eligibility verification.

Using a combination of algorithms, detection reports and analysis, Citizenship and Immigration Services will identify patterns indicating fraudulent use of SSNs and then lock and flag those numbers in the E-Verify system.

E-Verify is a free Web-based service offered by the Department of Homeland Security that allows employers to quickly verify the employment eligibility of new employees. In fiscal 2013, E-Verify was used to authorize workers in the U.S. more than 25 million times, representing a nearly 20 percent increase from fiscal 2012.

The new enhancement strengthens E-Verify by using standards that have proven effective in protecting individual identity. Just like a credit card company will lock a card that appears to have been stolen, CIS may now lock SSNs in E-Verify that appear to have been used fraudulently, the agency said in a statement.

If an employee attempts to use a locked SSN, E-Verify will generate a “Tentative Nonconfirmation” (TNC). The employee receiving the TNC will have the opportunity to contest the finding at a local Social Security Administration field office. If an SSA field officer confirms the employee’s identity correctly matches the SSN, the TNC will be converted to “Employment Authorized” status in E-Verify.

Posted on Dec 06, 2013 at 8:16 AM0 comments


Can fuel cells integrated into server racks power data centers?

In a recent blog post, Microsoft senior research program manager Sean James shared the findings of a research paper on fuel cell powered data centers.

This study described the “collapse of the entire energy supply chain — from the power plant to the server motherboard — into the confines of a server single cabinet.”

The researchers show that by integrating fuel cells with IT hardware, they can cut much of the power electronics out of the conventional fuel cell system. Advantages to fuel cell powered data centers compared to traditional data centers include:

  • Improved reliability. Points of failure will be limited to a single server rack, and a battery backup is not required, so the system will be more reliable.
  • Lower infrastructure costs. The elimination of electrical distribution, backup, and transformation in the data center, as well as power conditioning equipment in the fuel cell, will reduce infrastructure costs.
  • Improved efficiency. Power effectiveness will increase, and high-efficiency fuel cells will double total system efficiency.
  • A universal data center design can be achieved. The fuel cell powered system design can be mass produced and deployed almost anywhere in the world without the difficulties of purchasing electrical equipment used for traditional systems.

However, there is still work to be done. “With the potential to double the efficiency of traditional data centers, we see tremendous potential in this approach, but this concept is not without challenges,” said James in his blog post. “Deep technical issues remain, such as thermal cycling, fuel distribution systems, cell conductivity, power management and safety training that needs to be further researched and solutions developed. But we are excited about working to resolve these challenges.”

Posted on Dec 04, 2013 at 8:47 AM2 comments