Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


Massachusetts invests in open cloud project, big data

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced a $3 million capital investment in the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC) project, a university-industry collaboration designed to create a new public cloud infrastructure to spur big data innovation.

Unlike existing proprietary public clouds, where all of the technology is controlled by a single entity, the goal of the MOC is to establish a marketplace where hardware capacity, software and services can be supplied, purchased and resold by many participants.

The MOC will provide a range of services, including infrastructure as a service, which offers on-demand access to virtual machines, as well as application development and big data platform services via the cloud.

MOC is hosted at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke.

The MOC project is a collaboration that draws from all five MGHPCC universities, including overall project leadership from Boston University, operational leadership from Harvard University, development from Northeastern University, community building from MIT and related research by faculty from the University of Massachusetts, Boston University, Northeastern University, Harvard University and MIT.

Industry partners, including Cisco, EMC, SGI, Red Hat, Juniper, Canonical, Dell, Intel, Mellanox, Brocade, DataDirect Networks, Mathworks, Plexxi, Cambridge Computer Services, Enterprise DB and Riverbed are contributing engineering and operational talent, equipment, financial support and business guidance. The hardware platform for the Massachusetts Open Cloud will be housed at the MGHPCC.

Gov. Patrick also announced the 2014 Mass Big Data Report, which confirms the continued growth and competitiveness of the commonwealth’s big data industry.

“Massachusetts’ competitive edge lies in our exceptional academic institutions, cutting-edge private companies, highly-skilled workforce and above all our willingness to work together to address the increasing demand for big data solutions,” said Governor Patrick.

Overall, the report finds that the global big data market is expected to top $48 billion by 2017, up from $11.6 billion in 2012. While hardware and services are expected to continue to account for the greatest share of revenue, the fastest growing sector is likely to be in big data-enabled applications.

For Massachusetts, big data applications in healthcare, life sciences and financial services appear highly promising, and local firms are seeking to fill as many as 3,000 big data-related jobs in the region over the next 12 months.

Posted on Apr 28, 2014 at 10:09 AM1 comments


IBM offers big data technology to federal healthcare

With the federal government expected to spend $13.95 trillion on healthcare-related operations and programs through 2024, increasing attention is being given to technology that can improve health care outcomes and cut costs.

To that end, IBM announced new investments in its US Federal Healthcare Practice, adding big data services for advanced clinical care from its IBM Watson Group and a new collaborations with IBM Research focused on data management. 

"Government leaders recognize that there is a tremendous opportunity to combine new and existing data sources with advancements in technology to find innovative ways to build a sustainable and affordable healthcare system," said Anne Altman, General Manager, IBM US Federal.

The solutions from the Watson Group include:

IBM Watson Engagement Advisor to manage interactions and experiences with patients.

IBM Watson Discovery Advisor to identify insights into diseases and innovative therapies, and speed medical research.

IBM Watson Explorer designed to consolidate and visualize information and help users uncover and share data-driven insights more easily.

The data management program for healthcare, called IBM Advanced Care Insights, uses the company’s analytics, predictive modeling and natural language processing to extract trends in unstructured data such as physician notes, lab results and other narrative content within electronic health record systems.

IBM also announced that it has added Keith Salzman, M.D., to the team as chief medical information officer for IBM Federal.  Dr. Salzman, early pioneer in health IT for the Army, comes to IBM from CACI.

Posted on Apr 25, 2014 at 11:27 AM1 comments


Washington county consolidates 911 systems

Pierce County, Wash., has consolidated 911 systems and emergency response centers across five local jurisdictions in order to streamline dispatch and rescue operations as well as standardize on the technology that supports them.

South Sound 911, the resulting “interlocal agency,” consolidates multiple public safety answering points (PSAPs) for police, fire and emergency medical services across the state's second most populous county.  

The interlocal agency, drawn from Pierce County, the city of Tacoma, the city of Lakewood, the city of Fife as well as West Pierce Fire and Rescue, will tie in 911 and dispatch for 16 law enforcement agencies and 22 fire departments.

South Sound 911 is the result of a collaboration between 911 centers and the local community. In November 2011, Pierce County residents voted for a 0.1% sales tax increase to support public safety. With the community's support, five 911 centers are consolidating, and an integrated radio system will be built.

"Interoperability, information sharing and standardization are some of the key capabilities we sought to support South Sound 911's mission and vision," said Andrew Neiditz, executive director of South Sound 911.

To deliver those services, the county recently acquired a set of technologies from Intergraph Corp., including a computer-aided dispatch system and a suite of mobile, mapping and analytics applications.

The company’s I/CAD system replaces prior multiple disparate systems with a multisite, multijurisdictional, multidiscipline capability to public safety teams across the state, according to Neiditz. 

The system integrates call management and dispatch with analytical, mapping and mobile applications.  Intergraph EdgeFrontier integration software manages interfacing and integration between the public safety agencies.

In addition to I/CAD, Intergraph mobile technologies for laptops, tablets and smartphones will allow personnel in the field to exchange dispatch messages, view incident details and query databases.

The company’s Mobile Responder, Mobile for Public Safety, I/Netviewer, I/NetDispatcher and I/Tracker provide Web and mobile dispatching capabilities, while its BI Direct and Incident Analyst features enable reporting and analytical applications, according to Intergraph.

"This technology will allow us to assign resources from any or all agencies to a single incident providing better protection for our first responders and safer communities,” said Neiditz. 

Posted on Apr 23, 2014 at 8:20 AM0 comments


IE 11 'Enterprise Mode' tackles browser compatibility

Agency IT managers wrestling to keep applications current with frequent browser and OS updates may see some relief in Internet Explorer 11.  The browser’s new “Enterprise Mode” feature aims to address compatibility issues.

An IE 11 browser running Enterprise Mode can automatically switch to emulate older Microsoft browser technologies, such as IE 8 technology, without requiring an action from an end user, if it's set up to work that way. As described by Microsoft, Enterprise Mode potentially could ameliorate upgrade problems associated with older IE technologies.

"Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11 may not fix all compatibility problems, but does work for many of the most common issues," Microsoft explained in a blog post. "Most importantly, this is an area of continued investment for Microsoft and is a significant step towards helping customers stay up-to-date with the latest version of Internet Explorer."

Enterprise Mode is also conceived as a way for Microsoft to break the dependencies that organizations may have for continuing to use IE 8. According to Microsoft, organizations "chose to standardize on Internet Explorer 8 to help ease the migration to Windows 7." IE 8 was the last version of Microsoft's browser that was supported on the now unsupported Windows XP OS.

In theory, with IE 11 Enterprise Mode, it's possible to have the performance and security benefits of using Microsoft's newer browser without having to remediate corporate Web apps based on older IE 8 technologies. Enterprise Mode specifically provides a "compatibility view" for IE 8-based sites and apps and it may also support older technologies, such as IE 7, according to Microsoft. It does so by "replicating the original Internet Explorer 8 user agent string" and mimicking IE 8's ActiveX responses. It also dispenses with "some vestiges of proprietary functionality" in IE 8, per Microsoft. Lastly, Enterprise Mode turns off some IE 11 features that don't work when emulating older IE browser technologies. For instance, an improved tab-switching capability in IE 11 doesn't work right with IE 8-based technologies.

IT pros get some controls over the use of Enterprise Mode. For instance, they can specify whether end users can use the Enterprise Mode feature or not. It's also possible to use Group Policy to designate which sites will run with Enterprise Mode turned on and which sites won't.

A longer version of the article appeared on Redmondmag.com, a sister site to GCN.

Posted on Apr 21, 2014 at 11:48 AM1 comments


Universities beef up cybersecurity, identity theft research

The University of Texas at Austin will open a center to offer research, programs and workshops to help the public better understand the threats of identity theft, fraud and privacy.  The university said its outreach would initially involve groups most at risk to the threats: senior citizens, children and small business operators.

The resources would be funded with a $5 million appropriation from the Texas legislature, the largest state investment in identity theft protection in the country, according to the university.

The project is being managed by of UT’s Center for Identity, an inter-disciplinary research center that draws from the university’s business, law, engineering and computer science departments for a focus on identity management, privacy and security.

Leveraging the resources of The University of Texas and those of its public and private sector members, the Center aims to forecast threats and deliver solutions that define and protect identity in physical and cyber environments.

Susan Combs, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, who is on the center’s board of advisors and chairs its child ID task force, called identity fraud “an increasingly common occurrence and a huge expense for state and federal government.”

“Smarter, more informed consumers lead to less fraud, theft and abuse of identity information,” she added. “We believe this effort can help prevent millions lost to the state of Texas as a result of identity fraud cases.”

The resource center, which was announced at the Center for Identity’s third annual ID360 conference, is expected to launch in the summer of 2014.

Meanwhile, the University of Connecticut is planning to expand an existing research center it operates on hardware security with the help of a multimillion-dollar investment by cable operator Comcast Corp., according to the Hartford Courant.

The state has been plagued with security breaches in the last year, according to the report, which said 400 breaches affected half a million residents.

The UConn program, named the Center of Excellence for Security Innovation, will lead research into the IT components of cybersecurity, with six professors and seven doctoral candidates dedicated to work at the center.

Mark Tehranipoor, director of the Comcast-UConn partnership, said his goal is to make the center "a national authority for hardware, software and network security,” according to the Courant. 

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 at 8:22 AM0 comments