Office of Science and Technology Policy Blog
- Posted byon June 17, 2013 at 12:33 PM EDT
Last week, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Equal Pay Act by President Kennedy, President Obama recognized innovators who have used open government data to build tools that address the wage gap.
That gap has grown considerably smaller since the Kennedy era, but it has not disappeared. In 2011, for example, a typical 25 year-old woman working full-time, year-round, will have already earned $5,000 less than a typical 25 year-old man. If that woman were to face the same wage gap for each year going forward, then by age 35 she will have earned $33,600 less than a typical 35 year-old man. By age 65, that earnings gap will have ballooned to $389,300.
- Posted byon June 17, 2013 at 9:14 AM EDT
OSTP today released the National Biosurveillance Science and Technology Roadmap, which identifies and prioritizes research and development (R&D) needs with the goal of giving decision makers and responders the information they need to protect the public from biological threats.
Biological threats such as the H7N9 influenza virus and the novel coronavirus recently identified in the Middle East—as well as those resulting from accidental releases or exposures or intentional, malevolent activities—have the potential to erupt suddenly and evolve quickly. Surveillance is essential for predicting, preventing, and mitigating the impacts of such events.
The Roadmap, drafted by the interagency Biosurveillance Science and Technology Working Group under the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Homeland and National Security, builds upon the National Strategy for Biosurveillance, published in July 2012. That document recognized that a well-integrated national biosurveillance enterprise can save lives by providing timely and accurate information for better decision making. The Roadmap identifies R&D priorities and objectives to enable implementation of the Strategy, such as:
- Posted byon June 14, 2013 at 11:04 AM EDT
President Obama today issued a Presidential Memorandum that builds on the Administration’s commitment to make additional spectrum available for wireless broadband to drive innovation, expand consumer services, and increase job creation and economic growth. The memorandum establishes a set of measures that Federal agencies, in collaboration with industry and other stakeholders, will now take to more aggressively enhance spectrum efficiency and enable access to more spectrum for consumer services and applications.
Many of the new measures are common-sense ways to improve spectrum efficiency. Under the memorandum, an agency that requests a new spectrum assignment or that seeks to procure a spectrum-dependent system will have to document its consideration of alternative approaches and verify that it is pursuing the most spectrum-efficient method, in consideration of all relevant factors including cost and agency mission.
Other aspects of the memorandum build on existing strategies, particularly with respect to advancing collaboration with the private sector and other stakeholders. Since 2010 the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which manages Federal agency spectrum assignments, has been implementing the President’s directive to identify 500 megahertz of spectrum for wireless broadband by convening agency-industry working groups that are engaged in unprecedented discussions aimed at increasing spectrum efficiency and providing access to certain federally assigned spectrum bands for consumer wireless broadband. Today’s memorandum directs NTIA to expand that collaborative process to encompass additional bands. Towards this end, NTIA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will develop policies and best practices to promote and facilitate greater collaboration among agencies, the private sector, and academia with respect to research, development, testing, and evaluation of spectrum-sharing technologies. Helping accelerate the pace of technological change, the White House announced $100 million in upcoming and proposed Federal investments in public-private research and development of spectrum sharing and other advanced communications technologies.
The memorandum also encourages the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in its role as steward of non-Federal spectrum, to continue its efforts to promote efficient, innovative, and flexible use of spectrum, including by imposing network build-out requirements or other conditions to guard against wasteful spectrum warehousing. In addition, the memorandum strongly encourages the FCC to take steps to encourage improved performance of radio receivers, a largely-untapped avenue for increasing spectrum efficiency.
- Posted byon June 11, 2013 at 3:39 PM EDT
Dr. Patricia Falcone, OSTP’s Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs, with Brig. Gen. Daniel P. Hughes, Deputy Commanding General, US Army Research Development &Engineering Command, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, and Col. Gregory R. McClinton, Commander, US Army Garrison, Aberdeen Proving Ground.
The event also featured remarks by Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, ARL Director Dr. Thomas Russell, and other Army officials.
The new ARL Supercomputing Center—containing two new IBM iDataPlex computers with the capacity to perform 50,000 trillion floating point operations per second, or 50 petaflops—will provide state-of-the art high performance computing capabilities as well as extraordinary capacities in advanced high-speed networking and data analysis, providing unprecedented benefits to the Army, the Department of Defense, and the Nation as a whole.
Among its many benefits, the new center will allow Army scientists and engineers to model and evaluate a wide range of soldier- and combat-vehicle-related materials in advance of actual manufacturing, so that expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes dangerous physical testing can be reserved for only the most promising products.
On a historical note, Dr. Falcone noted in her remarks that the new center is just footsteps away from the ARL building that until 1955 was home to the world’s first electronic, programmable, general-purpose computer—the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, known by its creators and a generation of World War II-era computational nerds by its nickname, ENIAC.
- Posted byon June 7, 2013 at 5:35 PM EDT
This past weekend, more than 11,000 people in 83 cities across America participated in 95 open data hacking events as part of the National Day of Civic Hacking. This huge turnout is an unmistakable mark of the growing interest and enthusiasm of American innovators in applying their tech skills for social good.
At events across the country, participants in Civic Hacking Day were set loose on open government data, building tools, apps, and solutions that can help address challenges faced by communities across America and form the basis of products and companies that contribute to our economy.
The Obama Administration has long recognized the power and potential of this kind of data-driven innovation. That’s why President Obama last month announced historic steps to unleash government data as fuel for innovation and job creation, including an Executive Order requiring newly generated government data to be made available in open, machine-readable formats, while ensuring privacy and security.
As part of the National Day of Civic Hacking, agencies and offices from across the Federal government, including the White House, identified top priority challenges and hosted events to convene civic hackers ready to take action. Innovators ranging in age from 11-years-old to senior citizens—empowered with Federal, State, and local machine-readable data sets—collaborated on exciting new ideas, innovations, and tools.
- Posted byon June 7, 2013 at 12:29 PM EDT
This article is cross-posted on HHS.gov
Health Datapalooza IV has officially wrapped and with over 1900 attendees and 80 companies, this was the biggest palooza yet. Kicked off by Secretary Sebelius for the second year in a row, this year’s event was a tremendous display of health data in action.
Looking back now, it is amazing to think that four years ago this all started with 45 people in a small room at the Institute of Medicine. Over the course of those four years the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has liberated over 400 datasets, participated in a countless number of codeathons, and has seen and helped developers build hundreds of apps, services, and products using health data.
At HHS, we have evolved and improved how we make health data available to the public. Last year, we launched a new version of healthdata.gov and made it significantly easier for our internal publishers to get their datasets listed, both manually and through an application programming interface (API). We've added the ability to generate APIs from any dataset that's stored directly in our database; TXT4Tots is the most recent example of this. And lastly, building on the Presidential Open Data Executive Order, we’ve made data more discoverable by releasing our healthdata.gov/data.json file. This will make it very easy for other data catalogs to consume the records in Healthdata.gov, allowing for the easy spread of open health data. We even open-sourced the CKAN extension that generates the data.json file on Project Open Data .
This year at Health Datapalooza we featured a Data Lab Session with HHS’s Health Data Leads. The Health Data Leads are subject matter experts who are changing the culture of data liberation at HHS by identifying and releasing new data sets, describing the context of data and providing insights into its use, and providing data education to entrepreneurs. This session highlighted datasets from a number of HHS agencies, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and more.
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