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Education

Underwater Cameras Give STEM Teams New Look at SeaPerch Challenge

June 9, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Middle and high school participants of the fourth annual SeaPerch National Challenge were able to monitor their underwater robots as they navigated obstacle courses thanks to technology sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Foundation.

The Bottom Line: Commencement Begins Today

June 11, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

Graduation ceremony speech from Adm. McRaven, Navy SEAL and commander, U.S. Special Forces Command, encompasses wisdom for all: Make your bed. Face the sharks. Respect everyone.

National Security Agency Program Fills Critical Cyber Skills Gaps

June 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The first graduates are emerging from centers of excellence for cyber operations that teach the in-depth computer science and engineering skills necessary to conduct network operations. The program better prepares graduates to defend networks and should reduce the on-the-job training needed for new hires, saving both time and money.

The National Security Agency (NSA) initiated the Centers of Academic Excellence-Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) program in 2012. Eight schools were designated centers of excellence in the first two years with another round of announcements expected in mid-June. Agency officials say they hope eventually to have a total of 20 to 25 schools on the list.

The effort is a deeply technical, interdisciplinary, higher education program firmly grounded in the computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering disciplines. “We had noticed that a lot of graduates coming out of universities didn’t have quite the same skills that they’ve had in the past,” recalls Steve LaFountain, dean of the College of Cyber, National Cryptologic School, and the distinguished academic chair for information assurance and cyber, NSA. “Some of the skills needed in the cyber operations field, such as low-level programming, deep knowledge of networks and network protocols and understanding of operating systems internals, were starting to become less emphasized by academic programs.”

The change in school curricula is understandable because a lot of jobs today are focused on Web applications and mobile applications and require a different skill set than today’s cyber operations, he adds. “Instead of doing C programming, they’re now doing Java, Perl and Python programming. We decided to create this program and focus the requirements on the skills necessary for cyber operations,” LaFountain explains.

Army Research Laboratory Opens Campus to Outside Researchers

May 2, 2014
George I. Seffers

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) will open spaces on its campus for local researchers from academia, industry and other government agencies to foster in-person interactions for deeper insight into the service's technological challenges.

Sandia Cyber Technologies Academy Offers Free Courses

May 2, 2014
By George I. Seffers

High school students and teachers get to learn about the world of cybersecurity through Sandia National Laboratories' Cyber Technologies Academy (CTA), which offers free classes for those interested in computer science and cybersecurity.

Students Launch Anti-Radiation Experiment Into Winner's Circle

April 25, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

High school students from Hampton, Virginia, not only carried off top honors Friday in the Exploration Design Challenge but will work with the NASA and Lockheed Martin spacecraft integration team to have their anti-radiation concept approved to fly into space.

Workshops Help Innovators Build Dreams

April 23, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

A high-tech workshop giving hobbyists and professionals alike access to millions of dollars of gadgetry, from computers to woodworking tools and other equipment they might otherwise not be able to afford, opened in Virginia and offers enthusiasts a place to literally build their dreams.

Basic Research Receives Funding Boost

April 17, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. Defense Department will award $167 million in research funding to academic institutions as part of the department’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI). During the next five years, 24 awards will be issued through the program to support multidisciplinary basic research, which will be conducted by teams of investigators that intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline.

Robots Learn With Heads in the Cloud

May 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Researchers working on multiple projects in Europe and the United States are using cloud computing to teach robotic systems to perform a multitude of tasks ranging from household chores to serving hospital patients and flipping pancakes. The research, which one day could be applied to robotic systems used for national defense, homeland security or medical uses, lowers costs while allowing robots to learn more quickly, share information and better cooperate with one another.

Cloud robotics is an emerging research field rooted in cloud computing, cloud storage and other technologies centered around the benefits of converged infrastructure and shared services, according to researchers with the recently completed RoboEarth project, which was funded primarily by the European Commission. Cloud robotics allows robots to benefit from the powerful computational, storage and communications resources of modern data centers. In addition, it lowers costs for maintenance and updates and reduces dependence on custom middleware.

Researchers with the RoboEarth project envision an Internet for robots that will allow systems to share information and learn from each other about their behavior and their environment, paving the way for rapid advances in machine cognition and behavior and, ultimately, for more subtle and sophisticated human-machine interaction.

STEM Students' Innovations Impress Army

April 8, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

U.S. Army leaders of the Brigade Modernization Command (BMC) at Fort Bliss, Texas, supported middle and high school students vying for top spots in the fields of science and technology during a recent competition. Brig. Gen. John W. Charlton, USA, commanding general of the BMC, lent support by providing soldiers from his command to help judge the first 5-STAR Innovation Cup science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competition.

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