Office of Science and Technology Policy Blog
- Posted byon December 14, 2012 at 10:42 AM EDT
This blog is cross-posted on Treasury.gov
Data sets published by Federal agencies are increasingly being harnessed by private-sector innovators to empower consumers to take control of their financial lives. Recently, Treasury hosted a Finance Data Convening (webcast link) and Working Session to highlight the variety of features, apps, products, and services that use finance data released by Federal agencies. Senior officials from the White House, Treasury, the IRS, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Department of Labor, the Social Security Administration, and the SEC joined over 50 private-sector leaders for a day devoted to data and innovation.
We’ve already seen innovation driven by freely available government data in other sectors. As just one example, entrepreneurs have used data from the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) to power navigation systems, build precision crop farming tools, and launch other innovations that add more than $90 billion per year in value to the American economy. The Obama Administration has launched a series of Open Data Initiatives—in education, energy, health, and public safety—to help catalyze the development of innovative apps and services fueled by open data, while rigorously protecting privacy and confidentiality. Open data in these sectors is spawning new businesses that promote economic growth, create jobs, and generate new value for American consumers.
- Posted byon December 13, 2012 at 10:12 AM EDT
This week marks what would have been the 106th birthday of Grace Hopper—an American Naval Officer known to some as “Amazing Grace” and to others as the “Mother of Computing,” whose work laid the foundation for one of the first modern computer programming languages. In recognition of her pioneering example, students, parents, schools, and communities across the Nation are spending a week in celebration of computer science education.
- Posted byon December 12, 2012 at 4:29 PM EDT
Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed new rules governing how wireless broadband providers can share the airwaves with Government users, adopting an innovative model first proposed earlier this year by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) in its landmark report, Realizing the Full Potential of Government-Held Spectrum to Spur Economic Growth. The FCC action comes amidst an array of Administration initiatives aimed at freeing up more spectrum for wireless broadband in order to drive productivity, jobs, and innovation, while also protecting the essential Government systems – including public safety, law enforcement, border protection, and military defense -- that also rely on spectrum and are relied upon by the American taxpayer. It is this type of public-private commitment and collaboration that is crucial to maintaining America’s leadership in the development and use of advanced wireless technologies.
- Posted byon December 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM EDT
Tara Tiger Brown, at left, is a leader of the LA Makerspace. Quin (age 12), at right, is a young Maker. (Image credit: family photo)
I recently sat down for a conversation with one of those leaders: Tara Tiger Brown, Technical Director of UC Irvine’s Digital Media Learning Research Hub and Director’s Board member for the Los Angeles Makerspace—a non-profit community of practice for inventors, builders, and creators (“makers”) to work and learn in a range of areas, including software, hardware, electronics, robotics, art, filmmaking, bio-tech, eco-tech, wearable-tech, and more. Though some such “makerspaces” are for adults only, the LA Makerspace is specifically designed to be family friendly and welcomes makers of all ages.
- Posted byon December 7, 2012 at 2:56 PM EDT
This week, OSTP asked winners and finalists from the 2012 Siemens Foundation student competition in Math, Science, and Technology to tell us why they are pursuing STEM and what it means to them.
The Science of Sleep
Daniel Fu (Park Tudor School, Indianapolis, Indiana) and Patrick Tan (Carmel High School, Carmel, Indiana): Daniel and Patrick developed two new mathematical methods for analyzing the human body’s oscillatory network—the system of genes and proteins in the body that regulate periodic processes such as the 24-hour sleep cycle. Their work could help inform the development of better treatments for illnesses that result from irregularities in these processes, such as sleep disorders.
“We first became interested in this problem after watching Inception, which deals with dreams and sleep to a major extent. The movie inspired us to investigate the nature of sleep at a fundamental level, which led us to the 24-hour sleep cycle and genetic oscillatory networks. We like STEM because it can provide answers to fundamental questions about the universe. It is by definition at the forefront of human capability, and it is the only way to advance the human frontier.”—Daniel Fu
- Posted byon December 4, 2012 at 7:05 PM EDT
On Monday in Washington, DC, OSTP Director John Holdren spoke to an audience of scientists and innovators, including the student finalists of the Siemens Foundation Competition in Math, Science, and Technology. In his remarks, Dr. Holdren, who at the event accepted the Siemens Founder’s Award on behalf of the Administration for its work to promote student engagement in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), made the case that a solid STEM education is one of the most powerful routes to a career that is both successful and meaningful to society.
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