National Institute of Standards and Technology

October 4, 2021
Posted by George I. Seffers
Quantum computing advances in the coming years are expected to offer benefits while also posting a threat to national security. Guidance offered by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institute of Standards and Technology is designed to mitigate that threat. Credit: graphicINmotion/Shutterstock

Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in partnership with the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), released a road map to help organizations protect their data and systems and to reduce risks related to the advancement of quantum computing technology.  

September 13, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Dmitry Pushin, from the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing and a professor in the Canadian university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, says that recent breakthroughs during an international research collaboration at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) will “open the door to future technologies,” such as quantum-related capabilities. Pushin is pictured at NIST’s Center for Neutron Research in Maryland. Credit: University of Waterloo/NIST

Scientists participating in an international research effort at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, have discovered a previously unknown component of silicon crystals and unveiled new information about a subatomic particle. In doing so, the researchers of the multi-year experiment have yielded details about the “long-theorized fifth force of nature.” The findings may enable additional breakthroughs in quantum technologies, the University of Waterloo announced in a September 10 statement.

June 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
A researcher (inset) uses extended reality (XR) with digital overlays to determine how a fire spreads in a room. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) experiments with XR to evaluate materials for fire-resistant characteristics without putting humans at risk.  NIST

Imagery is yielding to meaning as extended reality heads down a new path of evolution. Where developers traditionally have concentrated on improving graphics to the point of realism, they now are shifting their focus to a different kind of realism that emphasizes meaning over appearance.

This approach is opening new doors for applications of extended reality, also known as XR. Uses such as automated driving, design for manufacturing, augmented reality and firefighting assistance already are growing in popularity and effectiveness, and varieties of those applications are on the horizon. In a few years, XR may be able to aid fighter pilots and the vision impaired.

May 6, 2021
Posted by George I. Seffers
NIST researchers entangled the beats of two mechanical drums—tiny aluminum membranes each made of about 1 trillion atoms—and precisely measured their linked quantum properties. Entangled pairs massive by quantum pairs might someday perform computations and transmit data in large-scale quantum networks. Credit: John Teufel/NIST

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have “entangled” two small mechanical drums and precisely measured their linked quantum properties. Similar entangled pairs may someday perform computations and transmit data in large-scale quantum networks.

The NIST team, which was led by physicist John Teufel, used microwave pulses to entice the two tiny aluminum drums into a quantum version of the Lindy Hop, with one partner bopping in a cool and calm pattern while the other was jiggling a bit more. Researchers analyzed radar-like signals to verify that the two drums’ steps formed an entangled pattern—a duet that would be impossible in the everyday classical world, according to a NIST press release.

May 1, 2020
By Travis Johnson
Citizens must be confident that their votes are counted as they are cast. Following the example of the NIST SP 800-53 Revision 4 Control Families list would be one way to ensure the information technology piece of voting machines is protected from threats and vulnerabilities. Credit: Shutterstock/Burlingham

To truly ensure the principle of one person, one vote, the American electoral infrastructure should adopt security protocols similar to those used in the cybersecurity industry. Electoral management should be conducted using variations on the techniques employed for financial systems and national security data. Unfortunately, today’s U.S. voting mechanisms at all levels as well as national policy would not pass even the most rudimentary information assurance audit.

May 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Through four use cases, including one that applies to street light operations, the city of Syracuse, New York, is evaluating a secure cloud architecture designed to provide cyber attack protections. Credit: Shutterstock/Debra Millet

Digital structures are needed to protect government information and operations. A group participating in a National Institute of Standards of Technology challenge is offering a secure cloud-based platform that can improve the digital and actual health of a city and protect its information.

April 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers have developed a new photonic sensor that could prove beneficial for growing human tissue—skin, muscle, bones or internal organs—in the laboratory. The device might ultimately be implanted in the body to monitor reactions to organ or tissue transplants.  Images by Jennifer Lauren Lee/NIST and Shutterstock. Edited by Chris D’Elia

A new, highly precise photon sensor could help advance the science of growing human tissue, such as bones, skin or vital organs, in the laboratory and could benefit warfighters and society. The potential applications include monitoring environmental conditions, such as poison gases on the battlefield or toxins in the home.

January 1, 2020
By Jim Barrineau, Jamie Dos Santos and Steve Shirley
A company considering a cyber insurance purchase must determine the risk to its organization and if a single policy will cover the type of loss it may experience.

Cyber insurance can protect organizations from losing more than data, but choosing a cyber insurer and policy comes with its own caveats. The purchase decision maker must consider an individual company’s circumstances, such as revenue, risk tolerance, board guidance and regulatory environment relative to protected categories of information. In addition, every purchase decision must be critically reviewed, particularly regarding the extent of coverage exclusions in each policy.

September 24, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
Credit: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov

Facial recognition technology has become “spectacularly” more effective at matching an individual with their photo in a gallery of millions of pictures, according to the latest research by U.S. government scientists.

“The algorithms now are spectacularly more successful [at matching two pictures of the same person] than they were when we first tested this technology in 2010,” Patrick Grother, the biometrics testing project leader at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) told AFCEA International’s Federal ID Forum and Expo Tuesday.

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.

March 26, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
A screenshot depicts the virtual reality environment for the EMS scenario for the NIST Public Safety Communications Research Division’s Haptic Interfaces for Public Safety Challenge. Credit: PSCR

The requirement to share information and communicate effectively via radio or other equipment during natural disasters, fires, crimes or catastrophes has only increased for police officers, firefighters and other public safety personnel. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST's) Communications Technology Laboratory, known as the CLT, has been working to improve interoperability among the first responders and other public safety organizations, conducting research to update legacy systems and harness new mobile technologies to exchange vital voice and data communications in a crisis 

January 1, 2019
By David Sheets
Future Army aviation systems will need to be able to operate against adversaries with advanced capabilities even in a contested airspace. Embedded systems need to be designed with cybersecurity in mind and may require some size, weight and power tradeoffs. U.S. Army graphic by Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center VizLab

Embedded systems are emerging as the latest challenge in the drive to secure deployed U.S. military technologies, including those residing within weapons and flight controllers. Because they are deeply entrenched inside critical hardware, these systems can be tricky to safeguard, so cybersecurity and cyber resiliency must be considered at the beginning of the design and architecture process. And although upgrades can boost embedded systems’ cybersecurity, system operators must determine when the potential pitfalls of doing so outweigh the benefits.

December 11, 2018
Posted by Julianne Simpson
NIST researcher Jelena Senic drives a robot used to measure the performance of different antenna beam patterns. Photo Credit: NIST

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers have developed a method for assessing and selecting optimal antenna design for future fifth-generation (5G) cellphones and other wireless devices and base stations.

5G systems will avoid crowded, conventional wireless channels by using higher, millimeter-wave frequency bands. Because transmissions at these frequencies lose a lot of energy along the way, received signal strength can weaken. One solution is “smart” antennas that can form unusually narrow beams and quickly steers them in different directions.

October 3, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s benchmarks are helping public safety officials by providing clear rules for evaluating how well robots perform tasks. Photo credit: DHS S&T

Over the last decade, emergency responders have increasingly relied on robots to assist with public safety functions that may be too dangerous for humans. Autonomous systems can perform search and rescue tasks, provide decision support, transport medical supplies, extinguish fires, map disaster areas or accomplish other important rescue functions.

July 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Public safety officials experiment with virtual mapping capabilities developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR). Credit: PSCR

Amid broad federal, state and local efforts to improve public safety communications, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is leading research to establish interoperability among diverse government organizations that aid the public when it is most in peril. The agency’s goal is for legacy systems and new mobile technologies to exchange vital voice and data communications in a crisis.

May 4, 2018
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Jack Lewis, a NIST associate, demonstrates the use of a virtual reality headset and controllers with NIST’s virtual office environment in which first responders search for a body in a fire. Credit: Burrus/NIST

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) aim to make virtual reality simulations more of a reality for first responders, enabling firefighters, law enforcement officers and others to train for emergency operations and communications.

May 1, 2018
By Henry S. Kenyon
Researchers with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a communications system that uses quantum principles to detect low frequency magnetic waves. The technology promises to enable first responders and warfighters to communicate underground and in buildings and mariners to communicate underwater.

A quantum physics-based technology developed by National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers may enable first responders, warfighters and mariners to communicate and navigate in areas where radio and satellite-based communications are limited or nonexistent. The capability would allow military and emergency personnel to stay connected in urban canyons, under rubble, inside buildings, underground or even underwater.

April 24, 2018
By George DeLisle
The National Institute for Standards and Technology’s risk management framework can be applied to data as well as systems. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

Cybersecurity evolves daily to counter ever-present threats posed by criminals, nation states, insiders and others. To address the changing threat landscape, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) periodically updates its Risk Management Framework (RMF), a standards-based, security-by-design process that all IT systems within DOD agencies must meet.

April 11, 2018
By George I. Seffers
NIST researchers have developed a prototypical method for generating verifiably random numbers for quantum encryption. Credit: K. Irvine/NIST

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a method for generating numbers guaranteed to be random by quantum mechanics. Generating truly random numbers is one of the major challenges for quantum-based encryption and could mark a major leap in cybersecurity.

January 26, 2018
By George I. Seffers
A new superconducting synapse developed by NIST researchers could mark a major step forward for neuromorphic computing, a form of artificial intelligence. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built a superconducting switch that learns like a biological system and could connect processors and store memories in future computers, NIST officials intend to announce today. The switch in some ways outperforms the human brain that inspired it and offers a wide range of benefits for medical diagnoses, smart cars and intelligence analysis.

The NIST switch is called a synapse, after its biological counterpart, and it supplies a missing piece for neuromorphic computers. Envisioned as a new type of artificial intelligence, such computers could boost machine perception and decision making.

January 9, 2018
 

Dr. Walter Copan was confirmed by Congress as undersecretary of commerce for standards and technology and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

December 21, 2017
By Thomas Jones
Federal contractors need to be able to show by January 1 they have a plan in place to meet NIST’s new cybersecurity mandate. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

There’s a new National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework that’s going against the grain. The Department of Defense has mandated that contractors comply with the guidance laid out in NIST special publication 800-171, which aims to strengthen the protection of controlled unclassified information. Why focus contractors’ limited resources on protecting information that is not top secret? Even if information is not top secret it still can be sensitive. For example, social security numbers, contact information, bank account details and other personal information about U.S.

May 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. government is racing to identify technologies that will resist the threat from quantum computers, which will render today’s encryption obsolete.

September 20, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

What happens if the Global Positioning System (GPS) that controls precision time signals goes down? The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO), which operate U.S. civilian and military time standards, respectively, have worked with two companies—CenturyLink and Microsemi—to identify commercial fiber optic telecommunications networks as a practical backup possibility.

August 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Scientists at the Joint Quantum Institute have created a crystal structure that boosts the interaction between tiny bursts of light and individual electrons, an advance that could be a significant step toward establishing quantum networks in the future.

If all goes well with its most recent five-year review, the Joint Quantum Institute will receive a renewal of research dollars next month to continue exploring quantum mechanics and quantum phenomena. The fundamental science could one day lead to revolutionary sensors, electronic devices and computers.

“We’re really pushing the edge of what you can do with technologies,” says Gretchen Campbell, who in April was appointed co-director of the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI). “At the theoretical level, of course, there’s the need to push the frontiers of knowledge.” 

June 6, 2016
By Beverly Mowery Cooper

A security framework established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is serving as a template for protecting networks using a threat-centric approach. The framework establishes five core functions in sequential order, and they are applicable across all network sectors.

The five core functions are Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond and Recover. Some of them can be bundled as part of an overall cybersecurity program, which is an approach already being adopted by commercial security providers.

June 3, 2016
 

Kiersten Todt has been selected as executive director of the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, Washington, D.C. 

 

The U.S. Department of Commerce today issued the "Public Safety Analytics R&D Roadmap," which outlines opportunities to spur innovation and improve public safety by making data more accessible and useful for police, firefighters, emergency medical services and other first responders.

March 31, 2016
 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the final version of a document outlining its process for developing cryptographic standards and guidelines. NIST Cryptographic Standards and Guidelines Development Process (NISTIR 7977) is part of NIST’s “effort to ensure a robust, widely understood and participatory process for developing cryptography,” the institute said in a written announcement.  

October 5, 2015
By Robert B. Dix Jr.

Most cyber practitioners and many users agree that assessing and managing the risk attributed to cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection is a shared responsibility between and across a wide array of stakeholders—including government, industry, academia, the nonprofit community and individual citizens.

September 30, 2015
By George I. Seffers

As part of its efforts to provide practical solutions to real-world cybersecurity challenges, the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is requesting comments on a draft guidance to help organizations better control access to information systems.

September 28, 2015
By George I. Seffers
To determine facial examiners' skills in matching whether faces in two images are the same person, researchers pushed the boundaries by adding inverted images and photos with backgrounds to the standard face-matching of closely cropped head shots.

Trained forensics examiners from the FBI and law enforcement agencies worldwide were far more accurate in identifying faces in photographs than nonexperts and even computers, according to a new assessment. The assessment provides “the first strong evidence that facial forensic examiners are better at face recognition than the rest of us,” Jonathon Phillips, a face recognition researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), said in a written announcement.

August 12, 2015
 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has formed an international alliance with about a dozen telecommunications companies and universities to model and measure wireless channels at much higher frequencies than those used today to hasten the development of future cellphones and other devices.

July 14, 2015
 

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program is signing up a new round of industry collaborators for the test bed used to evaluate advanced broadband equipment and software for emergency first responders.

So far, 39 telecommunications companies have signed new, five-year cooperative research and development agreements to participate in the test bed program, according to Dereck Orr of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

February 19, 2015
 
NIST researchers developed this directional 16-antenna array to support modeling of wireless communications channels at 83 gigahertz.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are developing measurement tools for new mobile communications channels that could offer more than 1,000 times the bandwidth of today’s cellphone systems. The research aims to resolve burgeoning bandwidth demands associated with the rapid expansion of wireless devices. Boosting bandwidth and capacity could speed downloads, improve service quality and enable new applications like the Internet of Things connecting a multitude of devices.

December 23, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) is inviting comments on a draft project to secure medical devices known as networked infusion pumps, which convey fluids, drugs and nutrients into patients' bloodstreams. Hospitals are increasingly using the devices and connecting them to a central system, which makes them more vulnerable to cyberthreats.

A networked infusion pump can allow centralized control of the device’s programming as well as automated cross checks against pharmacy records and patient data to ensure the right dose of fluids or medication are delivered at the right time to the right patient.

October 22, 2014
 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published the final version of the "U.S. Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, Volumes I and II," which focuses on strategic and tactical objectives to support the federal government’s accelerated adoption of cloud computing.

The road map leverages the strengths and resources of government, industry, academia and standards development organizations to support technology innovation in cloud computing, according to a written announcement from NIST.

January 6, 2012
By Rachel Eisenhower

A recently released draft plan provides a road map for federal agencies and industry to navigate through the development of the cloud-computing model. In the January issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Technology Editor George I. Seffers explores the document in his article, "Hitting the Hard Spots on the Road to Cloud."

November 18, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published for public review draft recommendations to ensure the confidentiality of sensitive federal information residing on the computers of contractors and other nonfederal organizations working for the government.