Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


moocdemic

Penn State to release Moocdemic 2.0

Against the backdrop of the rapidly spreading Ebola virus, researchers at Penn State will soon launch Moocdemic 2.0, a massive multiplayer game simulation, an optional component to a massive online open course (MOOC) on epidemics.

By playing location-based Moocdemic, students detect, spread and control a fictional infectious disease in real time.

Like Moocdemic 1.0, in this second version of the platform, players create an account accessible through a smartphone or computer. The application scans for diseases, or cases, using the player’s location. As players move through their environment, they get points for spotting nearby cases and sharing that information via social media. Moocdemic supports Apple and Android devices and is completely free to play.

The game is being run in parallel with a free MOOC on epidemiology offered through Coursera. The course, called Epidemics - the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases, will run this year from Sept. 29 to Dec. 1.

"The game allows players to experience a global disease outbreak in real time without being exposed to any real risk, other than game addiction," developer and assistant professor Marcel Salathé told Directions Magazine.

Moocdemic was developed by scientists at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State University. It is a Ruby on Rails app with a PostgreSQL database and is hosted on Heroku, according to the game’s website. 

Posted on Sep 25, 2014 at 11:03 AM0 comments


NARA reminds agencies of automated email deadlines

The National Archives and Records Administration reiterated its guidance to federal agencies on email management. Converting to automated email management will reduce the risks involved in human management of email.

In light of the Dec. 31, 2016, deadline for all email to be managed electronically, NARA said it will continue to issue guidance that assists agencies meet the goals of the directive and federal records management requirements under the Federal Records Act.

The question-and-answer formatted memorandum from  the Office of Management and Budget covers:

  • The kinds of emails that are official federal records
  • Agency responsibilities for email management
  • The role of federal employees in email management
  • A description of the Capstone approach to managing email
  • Guidance on email retention
  • Strategies for mitigation against loss of emails
  • Instructions on reporting email loss
  • Sources for more information

OMB also reminded agencies of other goals from the Managing Government Records Directive that are due at the end of this year, which include ensuring that that agencies and their employees understand their accountability and that all agencies must establish and develop suitable records management training.

Posted on Sep 23, 2014 at 10:15 AM0 comments


ICMA, SAS launch analytics platform for local gov

The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) unveiled ICMA Insights, a performance management and analytics solution for local governments that lets them easily collect, clean, report, benchmark and analyze their data.

Developed by ICMA in partnership with analytics software developer SAS, ICMA Insights aims to help communities synthesize data they collect across the services they provide – such as police, fire, trash collection, building permits – to track performance metrics and drive improvements in service delivery.

Five levels of service are offered to cover a range of community and budget sizes. The tier services range from basic summary statistics and integrated reporting to more advanced customizable graphs, scorecards, dashboards and performance forecasting. Multiple local user licenses with additional users based on population are also available.

"It's extremely fitting that as we look ahead to the next 100 years of local government leadership, performance management is front and center," said Bob O'Neill, Executive Director of ICMA.

"If we can get 2,000 communities in our database, participants can then match their performance against lots of other communities and make evaluations based not only on their own historical performance but against a universe of similar communities."

The service includes training modules; a private online network for peer-to-peer discussion; and ICMA-generated research, case studies, and white papers.

Posted on Sep 22, 2014 at 9:32 AM0 comments


SEC office to shepherd risk analysis tool development

The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to open an office to help develop data analytics tools that can identify and track investment and management risk among the financial institutions it regulates.

The office will operate within the agency’s Division of Economic and Risk Analysis (DERA) to coordinate efforts to create “data-driven risk assessment tools and models” to support its regulatory activities, the SEC announced.

DERA has produced a number of risk assessment tools since it was created in 2009.  That year it developed the Aberrational Performance Inquiry tool, designed to seek out and flag atypical hedge fund performance, according to the commission. It has been used by SEC’s enforcement division to assess private funds, leading to eight enforcement actions, according to the SEC.

DERA has also developed a risk assessment tool that helps SEC allocate resources by measuring a broker-dealer’s comparative riskiness relative to its peer group. 

The division is also working with SEC’s Enforcement Division’s financial reporting and audit task force and the Division of Corporation Finance on a tool to help spot financial reporting irregularities that may signal fraud.

“The Office of Risk Assessment will build on the existing expertise of DERA’s staff, which includes economists, accountants, analysts and attorneys, to provide sophisticated assessments of market risks,” said DERA Deputy Director Scott W. Bauguess, who oversees the division’s risk assessment projects.

“The establishment of this new office reflects the Commission’s ongoing focus on deploying data-driven analytics to assist in routing scarce resources to areas of the greatest risks to the market,” he added.

Posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 9:48 AM1 comments


World Bank launches global contracts platform

The World Bank recently launched the Open Government Contracts Platform, an open data tool designed to help governments and businesses search, manage and monitor government contracts and procurement opportunities globally.

Developed in partnership with government business intelligence vendor Govini and the larger Open Contracting community, a pilot platform currently displays 44,000 real-time contract records totaling $7.3 billion from India, a country with a high number of English, machine-readable government contracts.

The platform is accessible for public use and free of charge, the World Bank said in its announcement. Users can find information on opportunities, clients, competitors, governance and industries. 

According to Govini, the platform will also include industry coverage in the U.S. federal, state and local markets as well as foreign governments. Both raw datasets and search results are fully exportable in CSV format and reusable by others.

With a more comprehensive view of the global marketplace, government agencies will be mouse clicks away from identifying the right vendors, the Bank said.

Posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM0 comments