Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


library books (carballo/shutterstock.com)

San Diego libraries install self-checkout kiosks

The San Diego Public Library has just completed a year-long upgrade to its circulation system that will allow patrons to check out books without assistance from staff.

To prepare for the new check-out system, library staff tagged approximately 2.6 million circulating materials across 36 branches with new radio frequency identification (RFID) microchips, replacing the barcodes previously used to catalog and track items. New security gates were also installed in several libraries.

The self-check machines offer services in 27 languages, and a credit-card payment feature will allow patrons to pay overdue fines directly at the machines.

“Our main objective is to enhance our customer service,” said Library Director Misty Jones. “The self-check machines are simple to use and allow our staff to focus more time on helping patrons with library materials or developing new, innovative programs to serve our diverse communities.”

On average, libraries have reported a higher than 80 percent patron usage rate with the new system, city officials said.

In the past year, nearly 7 million people visited the San Diego Public Library, an increase of more than 20 percent in five years.

Posted on Aug 16, 2017 at 1:50 PM0 comments


PTSD Coach app (VA)

VA plans refresh of PTSD apps

The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to update its suite of mobile apps that help veterans address posttraumatic stress disorder.

Over the last six years, the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder has developed 23 native, publically available apps for veterans and their families, including PTSD Coach, Mindfulness Coach and Stay Quit Coach. The apps can help with understanding PTSD and related problems, tracking improvement over time, obtaining support and resources and managing symptoms using a variety of tools.

To ensure the apps can support scientific research and respond to the needs of veterans, VA providers, and other stakeholders, the center wants to update the apps to improve their usability, efficacy and implementation. 

According to a Aug. 7 request for information, the VA is looking for a contractor to provide coding and user interface designs for any of the existing native mobile apps for the iOS and Android platforms. The amount and type of modifications will vary widely on a per-project basis, the center said, with changes ranging from ad hoc minor text edits to comprehensive user interface revisions.

Responses are due Aug. 11. Read the full RFI here.

Posted on Aug 08, 2017 at 3:42 PM0 comments


researchers with servers (Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com)

NIH's Biowulf gets HPC infusion

The National Institutes of Health's upgraded its Biowulf supercomputing cluster, which is used by biomedical researchers to process large numbers of simultaneous computations.

Installed by high-performance computing services provider CSRA, this second stage adds 1,104  compute nodes from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, with Intel processor and NVIDIA GPU technology; an additional 4.8 petabytes of storage from DataDirect Networks; Infiniband interconnect components from Mellanox Technologies; and Ethernet switches from Brocade Communication Systems.

Biowulf is the main computational resource at NIH's High-Performance Computation Systems group. Its Linux cluster is designed for work in genomics, image processing and  statistical analysis, as well as large-scale distributed memory tasks such as molecular dynamics.

In 2016, the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute conducted a test that pitted Biowulf against a third-party cloud to see if the cloud-based provided advantages for compute-intensive research. Though the performance on Biowulf and the cloud was similar, the cloud saved time overall, because researchers didn’t have to wait for available computing time on the shared Biowulf system.

Posted on Aug 03, 2017 at 9:08 AM0 comments


cloud computing (Shutterstock.com)

Microsoft adds services to Azure Government Cloud

Although adding artificial intelligence to applications is easier since the public preview of Cognitive Services in Azure Government, Microsoft announced it is offering an assistance program to help agencies take advantage of the technology.

Cognitive Services are a series of machine-based language, vision, search and knowledge application programming interfaces that help developers add emotion and video detection; facial, speech and vision recognition; and speech and language understanding to applications.

The Cognitive Services White Glove Program is designed to help with visioning, development and scaling AI-enabled applications. Clients will work with experts at Microsoft and the Azure Government engineering team on designing and building apps with Cognitive Services.

The company also announced the general availability of Azure Media Analytics on Azure Government. Azure Media Analytics is a collection of speech and vision components that uses machine learning technology to improve video analysis. The available tools – which include speech-to text capabilities, motion and emotion detection, facial redaction and optical character recognition -- could help law enforcement speed the analysis of evidence collected from video surveillance, the company said.

Posted on Jul 18, 2017 at 12:02 PM0 comments


virus (Alexey Godzenko/Shutterstock.com)

DOD plans for better biosurveillance

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency wants to enhance its Biosurveillance Ecosystem so it can support a broader range of data sources as well as additional tools, algorithms and services analytics.

First developed in 2014, BSVE is a biological and chemical threat surveillance platform that lets epidemiologists scan data streams for diseases, identify warning signs of impending epidemics, share their findings and coordinate effective response strategies.

The open source, cloud-based, collaborative platform also supports the development and use of models and applications that support early warning. It features a software development kit that allows third-party developers to build applications that push and pull data from BSVE and make them available to the BSVE user community. An Analyst Workbench provides tools for data visualization, modeling and simulation, task management, report generation, hotspot maps and crowdsourcing.

DTRA wants to enhance and expand the platform so it can leverage advances in computing power and better respond to needs for new data sources and analytics. It also wants to improve BSVE's software development kit so that it can support graph-based data stores, offer a location service and provide tools for archiving, managing, integrating, querying, retrieving, exchanging and visualizing large datasets.

Read the full request for information here.

Posted on Jul 07, 2017 at 11:32 AM0 comments