Office of Science and Technology Policy Blog
- Posted byon January 22, 2013 at 2:39 PM EDT
This summer, on June 1-2, 2013, citizens in cities across the Nation will join together to improve their communities and governments as part of the National Day of Civic Hacking.
Civic Hacking Day is an opportunity for software developers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to unleash their can-do American spirit by collaboratively harnessing publicly-released data and code to create innovative solutions for problems that affect Americans. While civic hacking communities have long worked to improve our country and the world, this summer will mark the first time local developers from across the Nation unite around the shared mission of addressing and solving challenges relevant to OUR blocks, OUR neighborhoods, OUR cities, OUR states, and OUR country.
National Day of Civic Hacking is a call to action for anyone who wants to make a positive impact on their town, city, and country. A coalition of leading organizations, companies, and government agencies have banded together to issue this challenge with the goal of promoting transparency, participation, and collaboration among governments, startups, and citizens. These partners will support Civic Hacking Day by hosting activities across the country that invite anyone to become part of the civic hacker community—whether you’re a newbie or an expert—and by connecting people in person or online during the weekend celebration.
- Posted byon January 17, 2013 at 6:43 PM EDT
Today, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its latest report to the President and Congress, Designing a Digital Future: Federally Funded Research and Development in Networking and Information Technology. The report is a Congressionally mandated assessment of the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, which coordinates the Nation’s federally-funded research and development (R&D) in areas such as supercomputing, high-speed networking, cybersecurity, software technology, and information management. The report is an update on progress since the last such assessment was conducted in 2010.
The United States is a world leader in R&D for networking and information technology (NIT)—a sector that touches virtually every human endeavor and fuels economic growth, national security, and enhanced quality of life. NIT capabilities are at the core of our Nation’s infrastructure—underpinning and enabling diverse functions ranging from communication and commerce to defense and manufacturing. New NIT insights and discoveries ensure that the Nation remains a safe and healthy place where Americans can continue to succeed and thrive.
- Posted byon January 17, 2013 at 2:44 PM EDT
(This article is cross-posted on the Treasury Notes blog)
Treasury recently hosted a Finance Data Working Session to brainstorm new uses and applications of government data that would help empower consumers. At the session, which was convened as part of Treasury’s broader Finance Data Initiative, over 50 entrepreneurs discussed dozens of ideas for new features, products, services, and apps that use government data to help American consumers make informed choices. By the end of the day, workshop participants narrowed down these ideas to a set of nine projects that show promise for helping Americans manage their finances, plan for retirement, and make more effective financial decisions.
At the working session, entrepreneurs and software developers volunteered to build the following ideas into prototypes and working applications in the coming months:
- Posted byon January 15, 2013 at 7:40 PM EDT
Last week, NASA announced that it will host a second annual International Space Apps Challenge on April 20-21, 2013. The event is a follow-up to last year’s highly successful Space Apps event, which brought together thousands of members of the tech and space community from 25 cities in 17 countries on all 7 continents (including participants in space!) to develop more than 100 unique open-source solutions to improve life on Earth and in space.
The event, which is part of the global Open Government Partnership, encourages collaboration between government agencies and civil society organizations around the world to promote technology development and innovation based on the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration that are at the core of citizen science. This inclusive approach leverages the expertise and entrepreneurial spirit of citizen explorers to find solutions to key global challenges.
- Posted byon January 14, 2013 at 6:09 PM EDT
This article is cross-posted on the Council on Women and Girls blog.
Back in September of 2011, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama issued a call to action to countries around the world to “break down economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls.” As part of America’s answer to this call, the White House launched the Equal Futures App Challenge – to create apps that inspire girls and young women to become leaders in our democracy.
Following on the first-ever White House Codeathon this past December, tech companies, non-profits and youth and education organizations across the country joined together to support this challenge by hosting a series of codeathons that took place simultaneously in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston earlier this month.
- Posted byon January 14, 2013 at 11:57 AM EDT
Materials are the basic building blocks of society. They make up the remarkably wide range of physical “stuff” that people depend on to live and thrive—batteries, cell phones, airplanes, and the seemingly infinite list of other tangibles used by so many of us each day.
Historically, access to materials and the ability to make usable stuff out of them has defined the frontiers of American industry. A century ago, plentiful elements like iron, lead, and copper fueled our Nation’s transition to an industrial economy. But today, many of the materials that characterize the industrial cutting-edge—such as rare earths, indium, and lithium—are not as naturally abundant or easy to access as their predecessors. When coupled with the rapid expansion of materials-intensive industries such as clean energy, this new cohort of so-called “critical materials” run the risk of falling into short supply. Continuing to push the innovation envelope in American industry while meeting our Nation’s array of growing needs in clean energy and other sectors will require not only more stable access to critical materials, but also the discovery of altogether new material alternatives.
Recognizing this important challenge, this Administration has taken a proactive approach to improve our domestic materials capabilities. A significant milestone in this effort was President Obama’s 2011 launch of the ambitious Materials Genome Initiative—a collaboration between government, private-sector, and academic leaders to discover and deploy new cutting-edge materials faster and cheaper than ever before.
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