big data

February 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
Researchers have developed a technique for encoding text within synthetic DNA that they say would take an infinite number of random, brute-force attacks to break.

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories are searching for partners to apply technology for encrypting text within synthetic DNA. The encryption is far stronger than conventional technology and practically impossible to break, researchers say.

In September, the Sandia team wrapped up a three-year effort titled Synthetic DNA for Highly Secure Information Storage and Transmission. The project developed a new way of storing and encrypting information using DNA. The work was funded through Sandia’s internal Laboratory Directed Research and Development program. 

February 2, 2017

Organizations constantly are seeking new ways to address workload-specific storage demands in terms of performance and capacity while also meeting service-level agreements, response-time objectives and recovery-point objectives.

Many information technology operations are inspired by successful hyperscale organizations such as Facebook, Google and Amazon. However, most enterprises lack the scale and substantial development and operations commitment necessary to deploy software-defined storage infrastructure in the same ways. Hyperscale economics also typically don’t work out at smaller scale, resulting in poor utilization or unacceptable reliability issues.

January 1, 2017
By Stephanie Domas and Dr. Nancy McMillan

Advances in genomics, medical sensors and data-driven health care increasingly are enabling doctors and patients to make personalized and targeted care decisions. But the effectiveness of these precision medicine capabilities depends on critical cybersecurity components to protect patient privacy and the integrity of patient data.  

December 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
A U.S. Marine Corps corporal fires a GAU-17/A gun during a Valiant Shield exercise over Farallon de Medinilla, Northern Mariana Islands. Machine-learning software may help predict which warfighters will be best suited for specific missions.

Researchers are developing an open source machine-learning framework that allows a distributed network of computers to process vast amounts of data as efficiently and effectively as supercomputers and to better predict behaviors or relationships. The technology has a broad range of potential applications, including commercial, medical and military uses.

Anyone who needs to analyze a few trillion datasets can use a supercomputer or distribute the problem among processors on a large network. The former option is not widely available, and the latter can be complicated. 

November 29, 2016

The Kill Chain Integration Branch at Hanscom Air Force Base has begun an experimentation campaign, known as Data-to-Decisions, to look at ways to provide warfighters data in the fastest and most efficient way possible. The campaign is in its early stages but, according to officials, already showing the potential for favorable results.

November 1, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

A cluster of macrotechnologies offers the potential for a new wave of innovation that revolutionizes all aspects of government, military and civilian life. Many of these technologies are familiar, and their effects are well-known. What may not be common knowledge is that the more these technologies advance, the more their synergies increase.

July 6, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Cybersecurity today is less about stopping adversaries from breaching networks and more about damage control once they get in, an adjustment that has government and businesses embracing a new trend that merges security and big data.

This confluence gives rise to a growing practice called threat hunting, the act of aggressively going after cyber adversaries rather than waiting to learn they have breached security perimeters.

While growing in popularity, a recent survey of security experts notes that a significant portion of threat hunting is still being performed ad hoc, negating benefits of a repeatable processes and a waste of resources in trying unverified methods that provide minimal value.

June 29, 2016
By Marcella Cavallaro

Big data is prevalent across the federal government, particularly the policy-shaping power of new data streams and better constituent information. Two years ago, President Barack Obama signed into law the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) that prioritized making public government data in an effort to bring transparency to federal processes and harness the collective power of information. The law gives the public  access to data about the nation’s populations, regions, services, economic opportunities and more that can be used by everyone—from local governments and citizens to private business and state agencies.

June 1, 2016
By Frank Christian Sprengel and Sebastian Leinhos

Despite plenty of indicators pointing to an impending refugee crisis in Europe, policy makers failed to see it coming. They neglected to set in motion judicious humanitarian response plans and bungled strategic decisions to prepare for the people in need, worsening this catastrophe. Government leaders lacked the foresight that might have avoided many of the issues the continent and its authorities now face. 

Inadequate preparation and a deficit of upfront collaboration have been toxic for all stakeholders. The crisis should elicit a fervent search for answers to this question: How can European decision makers act in a more appropriate, comprehensive and sustainable way?

May 12, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The Defense Department's continued collaboration to streamline the whole of the military's information technology networks and systems, known as the Joint Information Environment, tops leaders' agendas and fiscal spending plans—now available with a caveat for decision makers, officials said.

May 11, 2016
By George I. Seffers
LinQuest's cyber solution allows analysts to view data in 3-D.

LinQuest Corporation officials are now offering a new game-based technology that allows cyber analysts to view data in an immersive 3-D environment, which the company says allows quicker understanding of the data, saving users both time and money.

The 3-D Cyber Immersive Collaboration Environment (ICE) allows analysts to create a 3-D virtual world in which users are represented as avatars able to interact with big data analytics and/or real-time systems. The virtual world includes video feeds, data feeds, web interfaces, data visualizations and analytical tools. Once the crisis is over, the virtual world and its super metadata can be archived into the cloud.

April 5, 2016
Sandra Jontz

Government conversations related to safeguarding cyberspace spin around policy as much as technology, particularly when it comes to sluggish efforts to modernize networks.

Federal information assurance security policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs) were penned in the late 1990s and early 2000s, long before today’s threats rendered them obsolete, not to speak of the challenges posed by the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) influence.

March 7, 2016
By Al Krachman, Esq., and Brian Friel

The use of big data in source selection decisions for contract awards is growing. But big data also is shaping acquisition policy. One of the recent Defense Department Acquisitions System performance reports began, “In God we trust; all others must bring data.”

Federal acquisition policy has been cobbled together by Congress and executive branch policy makers over the past few decades with little actual data to back up the policies they’ve written. Big data is coming to federal procurement, and it will change the way policy is made.

February 22, 2016
By George I. Seffers

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) has released a broad agency announcement (BAA) seeking proposals to develop, and experimentally test, systems that use crowdsourcing and structured analytic techniques to improve analytic reasoning. At the same time, the organization released three requests for information and announced a March 11 proposers’ day for the Odin program, which is developing methods for detecting attempts to disguise a person’s biometric identity.

January 12, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
DISA officials present agency needs to industry during an AFCEA DC Chapter breakfast that included (l-r) Tony Montemarano, David Mihelcic, John Hickey and Alfred Rivera. Photo by Mike Carpenter.

Not all the news surrounding shrinking federal budgets is bad news. Dwindling coffers mean the government increasingly relies on ready-made products and services from private industry for solutions to both carry out day-to-day operations and prepare for the future.

January 12, 2016
By J. Wayne Lloyd

The season to hunt white-tailed deer draws to a close, and being an avid hunter, I’m already planning for the next season using information gleaned from this go-around in addition to maps, data from trail cameras, temperature input, moon phase and the movement patterns of game. While planning tools are plentiful, they mean little without automation on the back end to make sense of it all.

Deer hunting can be much like cyber hunting, the methodology organizations use when traditional security solutions fail to keep out intruders. 

December 16, 2015
By Eddie Garcia

Stopping insider threats has become a unifying cybersecurity mission, particularly in the defense and intelligence communities. And for good reason. While in the recent past, mention of the words insider threat conjured up the likeness of Edward Snowden, the reality is much scarier. More often than not, insider threats result from innocent people making simple mistakes rather than the common misconception of malicious employees or whistleblowers.

December 17, 2015
By George I. Seffers

The Advanced Technology Academic Research Center (ATARC), Ashburn, Virginia, has released a report, "Harnessing Big Data within the Federal Government – Findings and Recommendations of ATARC’s Big Data Innovation Lab," which offers five recommendations for government to consider while developing big data strategies.

The recommendations are:

November 3, 2015
By George I. Seffers

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) seeks to use big data analytics to enhance network situational awareness while automating as many cybersecurity capabilities as possible, officials said during the agency’s November 2 forecast to industry in Washington, D.C.

October 8, 2015
By Bob Gourley
The iCub humanoid robot at IDSIA's robotics lab in Switzerland tries to reach for a blue cup.

Remember this scene from The Graduate?
Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

Turns out, plastics was pretty hot. Great tip, Mr. McGuire. I wonder what, if anything, Benjamin did with that tip. More importantly, what is the one word for today?

I think I have it. The word is Cambric. Cambric the finely woven linen? No, CAMBRIC the finely woven acronym: