Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


Expedition 39 flight engineer and NASA astronaut Steve Swanson activates the Veggie plant growth system and Veg-01 experiment in the Columbus module on the International Space Station.

Galactic Grant Competition to fund space station research

Massachusetts announced a “Galactic Grant Competition” for life science companies based in the commonwealth to conduct research on the International Space Station.

The grant competition will be open for applications from Dec. 1, 2014 through April 3, 2015 and will encourage companies to take advantage of the distinct attributes of the ISS research platform for life sciences initiatives.

The competition is funded by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, research, development and commercialization. For this competition, MLSC is working in partnership with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, a nonprofit organization responsible for managing and promoting research onboard the ISS U.S. National Laboratory.

"Massachusetts-based companies will have a unique opportunity to access the International Space Station – a one-of-a kind platform for applied research projects that will help bring new therapies and cures to market," said Susan Windham-Bannister, president and CEO of the MLSC.

Interested companies and researchers are encouraged to attend information sessions that will take place December 2014 through February 2015. Up to $500,000 is available to support flight projects from any life sciences company with operations in Massachusetts.

An additional $50,000 will be invested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education initiatives that will aim to connect Massachusetts students to the ISS with unique content and student research opportunities.

Posted on Nov 14, 2014 at 10:48 AM0 comments


SSA to expand enterprise e-discovery toolset

SSA to expand enterprise e-discovery toolset

The Social Security Administration is looking to expand its e-discovery capabilities to better manage the types of data that serve as evidence, from emails, text, and images to calendars, audio/video files, websites and computer programs. 

In a recent sources-sought notice, SSA said the contract on its current solution expires in May 2016, and the agency must “proactively manage the electronic discovery process to avoid sanctions, unfavorable rulings and a loss of public trust.”

SSA is looking for an enterprisewide system that can manage the following:

Document types: Microsoft PSTs, loose emails in .msg format, Microsoft Office documents, PDF files, SharePoint, WordPerfect documents, web pages, pictures and social media posts. The solution should also be able to filter out system documents and automatically OCR non-text based documents when they are imported.

Capacity:  65,000 active custodians and 250 attorneys, with 100 concurrent users. The system should have the ability to import and retain up to 5 TB in the first year and 25 TB in fifth year of the contract.

Security:  SSA is looking for a single sign-on for users, passwords for password-protected documents and PSTs so they can be decrypted upon ingestion, an interface with Microsoft Active Directory to add and authenticate users, and the ability to limit/grant access to certain functions using role-based access controls.

Search: Customizable query and results that search on "tags" and metadata, email attachments and embedded documents within emails.

Responses are due Dec. 8. 

Posted on Nov 13, 2014 at 1:29 PM0 comments


Military health directorate joins Army ERP system

Military health directorate joins Army ERP system

The National Capitol Region Medical Directorate (NCR MD), a part of the Defense Health Agency, is the first organization outside of the Army to fully integrate into the General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS)

GFEBS is one of the largest enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in the world, processing 1 million transactions a day for some 79,000 end users at more than 200 sites worldwide.

Accenture fully deployed GFEBS for the Army in 2012 and recently delivered the solution to NCR MD.

The web-enabled financial, asset and accounting management system standardizes, streamlines and shares accurate, up-to-date financial and accounting data across the Active Army, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.  It also streamlines business processes by creating a single source for financial, real property, cost management and performance data, as well as a core system of record for the Army General Fund.

The NCR MD exercises control over the largest military health market: seven military and joint service military treatment facilities and related facilities that include family health clinics and related facilities in the region.  Its focus is to integrate services to provide convenient and accessible healthcare for the area’s military community.

With this integration, NCR MD officials will be able to access and analyze financial data in real time, giving more reliable and accessible data for improved decision making. GFEBS also will make it easier for NCR MD to work more closely with business partners, including the Army and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

“GFEBS is a solid foundation to help NCR MD meet the medical needs of our servicemen and women, enhancing support capabilities for our wounded warriors while addressing Congressional mandates for greater financial accountability of tax dollars,” said Joe Chenelle, who leads Accenture’s defense and intel business.  

Posted on Nov 12, 2014 at 11:29 AM0 comments


Verizon gains FedRAMP ATO

Verizon gains FedRAMP ATO for cloud services

Verizon Enterprise Solutions’ cloud-computing platform has received Authority to Operate from the Department of Health and Human Services under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).

Verizon’s Enterprise Cloud Federal Edition (ECFE) is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution, supported by an enterprise-class computing architecture that  features virtualization technology from VMware, and compute and network infrastructure from Cisco and NetApp.

ECFE is delivered from cloud-enabled data centers in Culpepper, Va., and Miami, where core infrastructure components are shared by government customers.  The service is a available in multitenant and dedicated configurations, and addresses the stringent security, reliability and flexibility requirements of federal agencies and their mission-critical workloads, Verizon said.

ECFE gives government customers the ability to provision virtual servers, storage, virtual load balancers and virtual firewalls in deploying their specific applications.

“Verizon operates one of the most mature and secure enterprise-class cloud-computing platforms used today by U.S. federal government agencies,” said Michael Maiorana, senior vice president of public sector markets, Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

“We are seeing accelerating interest in cloud computing across our public sector business,” Maiorana added, “and achieving FedRAMP authorization underscores our commitment to providing reliable, flexible and high-performance on-demand computing solutions that enable the business of government.”

Verizon’s ECFE is the ninth ATO-approved cloud service provider.

Posted on Nov 10, 2014 at 10:32 AM0 comments


Can quantum speed code-breaking tech?

Editor's note: This post was changed to correct the likely location of the NSA's quantum cryptology research.

The federal government is concentrating more of its scientific assets in an effort to build a quantum computer, the next stage in computing that promises to deliver breakthroughs in medical and scientific research, including code-breaking and encryption.

The Commerce Department, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Maryland just announced the creation of the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS).

QuICS is being launched with the “support and participation” of the National Security Agency/Central Security Service,” according to the announcement. It will also complement quantum research performed at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), established in 2006 by UMD, NIST and the NSA.  

The center will act a “venue for groundbreaking basic research to build our capacity for quantum research,” NIST Acting Director Willie May said in announcing the center.  Scientists at the center will conduct basic research to understand how quantum systems can be best used to store, transport and process information.

It will also likely further the NSA's interests in pursuing quantum technology in the race to create a computer capable of breaking existing public key encryption and many forms of web security.

According to documents provided  by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the effort to build “a cryptologically useful quantum computer”  is part of research program called  “Penetrating Hard Targets” that is likely being conducted at the Laboratory for Physical Sciences at UMD.

According to reports on the Snowden leaks, NSA believes it is running even with the European Union and Switzerland in achieving potential breakthrough in developing quantum computing capabilities.

The QuICS will bring even more academic and government resources to bear on NSA’s goal. To get there, topics QuICS researchers will initially examine include:

  • Understanding how quantum mechanics informs computation and communication theories.
  • Determining what insights computer science can shed on quantum computing.
  • Investigating the consequences of quantum information theory for fundamental physics.
  • Developing practical applications for theoretical advances in quantum computation and communication.

Creation of the center will enable some of the most experienced researchers in government and academia to pursue these challenges, according to its organizers.

Dianne O'Leary, a computer science professor at UMD and Jacob Taylor, a NIST physicist, will serve as co-directors of the new center.

“The capabilities of today's embedded and high-performance computer architectures have limited advances in critical areas, such as modeling the physical world, improving sensors and securing communications,” they said in an announcement.

“Quantum computing could enable us to break through some of these barriers.”

UMD and NIST have a history of collaboration, noted UMD President Wallace Loh, who said new quantum program, “will team some of the best minds in physics, computer science and engineering to overcome the limitations of current computing systems."

Posted on Nov 05, 2014 at 5:55 AM0 comments