Technology

September 11, 2019
 
Computer scientists at the U.S. Army¹s Combat Capabilities Development Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground are working on biometric software systems to combat so-called "deepfake" or bogus media. Credit: Shutterstock/meyer_solutions

At the Combat Capabilities Development Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, researchers in the Science and Technology Directorate are working to meet a joint urgent operational needs statement regarding biometric dominance. The directorate’s Intelligence Systems and Processing Division is creating two biometric systems, called VICE and VIBES, to protect warfighters as well as discern media fakes, explained Keith Riser, computer scientist, Intelligence Systems and Processing Division, Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate. 

September 5, 2019
By David Dedinsky
Credit: Vertiv

The days of holding onto legacy IT systems are over. Last year’s Executive Order has made data center and IT modernization an issue of “how” and “when,” not “if.” Despite the mandate to modernize, federal government agencies often struggle to transition from legacy facilities and legacy mindsets, largely because of three myths.

Myth #1: “Our legacy systems are working just fine.”
The slow speed of modernization is partly due to the idea that decades-old systems still seem to be working. You may see this mindset in your own agency: If it has served us well for this long, why would we change?

September 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Synthetic biology is a top priority for the Army as well as the Defense Department, says Bryn Adams, research biologist, Army Research Laboratory.  ARL

The synthetic biology-related work that scientists at the Army Research Laboratory are performing may seem as if it is taken from a science fiction novel: harnessing the DNA of microbes to engineer military solutions such as self-healing paint on a tank. But to support soldiers of the future, this may be what is needed, a researcher says. The Army has to prepare soldiers to fight in multidomain operations across dense urban environments, megacities or austere environments, and synthetic biology capabilities could provide fuel sources, protective coatings, food or other necessities.

Novermber 20, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Bill Moore, founder of Xona Systems, hears the announcement that the judges in AFCEA International’s Innovation Shark Tank Series have selected Xona as a finalist. The company offers cybersecurity measures for so-called Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices. Credit: Elizabeth Moon

Broadcast on CyberSecurity TV by TV Worldwide, the latest episode of AFCEA’s Innovation Shark Tank Series on November 19 featured five companies offering government solutions addressing cybersecurity, the STEM workforce, cloud migration, security of Industrial Internet of Things devices and mobile application development.

The companies were competing for selection to the association’s Shark Tank finals to be held April 22-24, 2019, at its planned joint homeland security conference with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.

September 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The National Science Foundation is tackling an array of challenges associated with integrating DNA and silicon chips to advance the science of DNA-based data storage. New technologies are needed to handle the massive amounts of worldwide data generated each year.  microstock3D/Shutterstock

If the pursuit of DNA-based data storage is a race, it is probably more of a long, arduous, challenge-laden Tough Mudder than a quick, straightforward 50-yard dash. Or it may be a tortoise and hare situation with data growing at an extraordinary pace while science moves steadily along in hopes of gaining the lead.

September 1, 2019
By Jennifer Miller

A deepfake is an artificial intelligence-based technology used to produce content that presents something that didn’t actually occur. This includes text, audio, video and images. Deepfakes are a recent disruptive development in the technology world, and both the House and Senate are investigating the phenomena and have introduced bills to combat these potentially dangerous creations.

August 23, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Timothy Chung, program manager, Tactical Technology Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), briefs SIGNAL Magazine and other reporters on August 20 during DARPA's Subterranean Challenge at a coal mine research facility in Pittsburgh.

In a dark, wet and rocky research coal mine in western Pennsylvania, teams from around the globe put their robotic systems to the test in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s, or DARPA’s, latest contest. The agency designed the Subterranean Challenge, also known as the SubT Challenge, to spur the advancement of technologies that work well underground, including autonomous and other robotic systems, which could benefit first responders and the military, explained Timothy Chung, program manager, Tactical Technology Office, DARPA, to the media in attendance at the event.

August 16, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
During the radio rodeo, the C5ISR Center places industry radios into an operationally relevant field environment to assess their ability to operate on the move in a contested, multidomain environment. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo Courtesy of PEO C3T)

The modernization, proliferation and commoditization of electronics make contending with peer and near-peer adversaries more difficult, according to Chuck Hoppe, director of science, technology and engineering at the U.S. Army’s Combat Capability Development Command C5ISR Center. “For every good thing we bring out of technology, someone inevitability wants to use it for nefarious purposes. That has been the biggest change in the past 20 years, and it’s what made things significantly more deadly and lethal,” he says.

August 1, 2019
By Maj. Ryan Kenny, USA

Want to be disruptive, I mean truly disruptive? Try delving into history while surrounded by software engineers and app developers. Watch how the presence of a book on Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace in the 19th century raises eyebrows at your next scrum team meeting. Be passionate about the history of technology, and you will disrupt.

I recently completed a short course on the history of computer science. Accounts of generations of scientists and engineers stepping from one advancement to the next through iterative problem solving efforts provided rich details about how computers progressed and the thinking of those working to advance the broader field of study.

August 1, 2019
By George Bara
Caption: Machine translation and text analytics offer more benefits when used together, says George Bara, director of strategic accounts, Government Solutions, SDL. Credit: Original image by ibreakstock/Shutterstock. Edited by Chris D’Elia.

Government agencies face similar challenges when it comes to understanding—and gaining intelligence from— foreign language content. They need to process, manage and gain insight from large volumes of content locked away in different formats, often across multiple languages. And they need to do all of this as quickly as possible. It’s no mean feat when you consider the mindboggling amounts of content being generated: 90% of the world’s content was created over the past two years alone.

August 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Shutterstock/LuckyStep

Blockchain has achieved enough recognition and use so it no longer is a fad, but neither is it a panacea. Companies and organizations are discovering limitations to its usefulness as they embrace what they originally thought was the answer to all their concerns. While some of these hopes have been found wanting, the new cryptographic record-keeper is still evolving, and it ultimately may develop into a tool with utility far beyond current expectations.

August 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Blockchain technology has evolved to become an effective back office tool of information assurance, experts say. Credit: Shutterstock/phive

Blockchain, the digital ledger technology, offers an immutable record of a transaction based on a distributed consensus algorithm. The technology gained notoriety through the use of bitcoin, the digital commodity. However, experts say that the blockchain technology has moved well beyond its initial underpinning role. “Bitcoin is basically like the Model T of blockchain technology, because it was the first one,” says Lee McKnight, associate professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York.

August 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
A soldier operates systems in a simulated tank while scientists at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) monitor his brain waves. This work by the ARL’s Combat Capabilities Development Center seeks to establish how artificial intelligence can be employed to address a soldier’s needs by determining changes in the human’s mood.  ARL photo

A future iteration of artificial intelligence would measure a soldier’s cognitive and physical state and trigger actions that would support, or even save, the individual in combat. These actions might direct the human on a different course, or ultimately initiate activities that complete the soldier’s mission or protect the individual in combat.

August 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Credit: Shutterstock/MDOGAN

Congressional leaders guiding the Congressional Blockchain Caucus are finding that part of their informative role necessitates distinguishing between the infamous dark web capabilities of digital commodities and the groundbreaking capabilities that a blockchain platform can offer as an advanced technology.

Blockchain, also described as a distributed cryptographic digital ledger, provides a verified record of transactions that is immutable or unchangeable. Legislators purport that the powerful capability, which some say could transform the economy, can be applied well beyond digital commodities for use in such sectors as healthcare, defense, supply chain management and cybersecurity.

July 29, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Judges and competitors gathering after the latest AFCEA innovation shark tank are (l-r) Robert Osborne, CTO of IMPRES Technology Solutions; judge Glenn Hernandez, national director of U.S. Cyber Challenge; judge Col. Laurie Moe Buckshot, USA (Ret.), president and CEO of Corvus Consulting; Nicholas Edwards, founder and CEO of winning company TunnelVue; Robert Stewart Jr., president and CEO of Federal Government Experts; and judge Bob Gourley, co-founder and CTO of OODA LLC.

A technology that provides network-wide encryption throughout the existence of its information was identified as the winner of the latest AFCEA Innovation Shark Tank. The competition was the second in a series of individual competitions running into the fall.

July 17, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Scientists at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) monitor a soldier’s brainwaves as he operates systems in a simulated tank. The work seeks to understand thought patterns and physical states during combat pursuant to teaming the soldier with artificial intelligence.

U.S. Army scientists are learning more about how the human brain functions so they can team its bearer with artificial intelligence (AI). The goal is for AI to understand a soldier’s moods and feelings and adjust its own actions accordingly.

Researchers aim for a future iteration of AI that would measure a soldier’s cognitive and physical state and trigger actions that would support, or even save, the individual in combat. These actions might direct the human on a different course, or ultimately initiate activities that complete the soldier’s mission or protect the individual in combat.

July 17, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
A micro-bristle-bot is shown next to a U.S. penny for size comparison. Credit: Allison Carter, Georgia Tech

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a new type of tiny 3D-printed robot that moves by harnessing the vibration from piezoelectric actuators, ultrasound sources or even tiny speakers.

The size of the world’s smallest ant, these “micro-bristle-bots” could sense changes in the environment and swarm together to move materials—or perhaps one day repair injuries inside the human body.

July 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The NSF’s Quantum Leap initiative includes a number of programs aimed at advancing the quantum technology research and helping the United States maintain a competitive edge over other nations.  Nicolle R. Fuller/ NSF

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is investing in a number of research institutes designed to advance quantum technologies in four broad areas: computation, communication, sensing and simulation. The institutes will foster multidisciplinary approaches to specific scientific, technological, educational, and workforce development goals in quantum technology, which could revolutionize computer and information systems.

July 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Shutterstock/Kritsana Maimeetook

The fight to secure microelectronic chips is becoming as basic as the chip itself. With chips facing a myriad of threats throughout their life cycle, experts are incorporating security measures into the development of the chip from the foundry to assembly. Other approaches safeguard against threats that could appear as the chip moves through the supply chain. The bottom line for microelectronics security is that necessary measures cannot wait until the device is in the hands of the user.

July 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Using traditional processes for manufacturing silicon chips, researchers can fabricate 1 million nanosized robots on a single chip. The robots may one day crawl around inside the body to collect data on the brain or the spinal column. Shutterstock/solarseven

Nanosized robots capable of crawling around on a person’s brain or underneath the skin may sound like a nightmare to some, but researchers suggest the mini machines could serve medical purposes such as gathering data on the brain or the spinal column.

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