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Blog Category: National Institute of Standards and Technology

NIST Breaks Ground on New Green Technology and Fire Safety Facilities

Government and industry officials break ground at NIST headquarters

New facilities showcase best in green technology and fire-safety funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has begun construction on three new facilities at its Gaithersburg, Md., campus that will help to advance green technology and fire safety building practices with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The National Fire Research Laboratory, the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility, and structures supporting more than 2,500 new solar energy panels that will supply electricity to the NIST campus were unveiled at a ceremony with U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8), Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley, and other industry and government officials.

The National Fire Research Laboratory will be expanded to include a National Structural Fire Resistance Laboratory, a 21,400-square-foot space that will provide a unique capability for testing full-scale structural elements, subassemblies and systems under realistic fire conditions.

Resembling a typical suburban Maryland single-family home, the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility will serve as a test bed for new home-scale energy technologies, showing that a residence can produce as much energy from renewable resources as it consumes over the course of a year.

NIST will also launch a new solar energy system as part of its commitment to implementing renewable energy sources. The Grid-Connected Photovoltaic System will feed directly into the existing electrical grid, generating more than 700 MWh of electricity annually – enough to power 67 homes – and offsetting a portion of NIST’s electrical power needs.

For more information on these state-of-the-art initiatives at the NIST campus, visit http://www.nist.gov/el/facilities-033011.cfm

Commerce Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank Visits Department Campuses in Boulder

Acting Deputy Blank shown on tour with mechanical equipment

Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank traveled to Boulder, Colorado this week to visit some of the department’s state-of-the-art facilities run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Her four-hour tour included stops at the nation’s time standard, NIST's F-1 Cesium Fountain Clock; the quantum devices group where NIST scientists study and make volt standards, photon detectors and quantum computing chips; the temperature, humidity and vibration controlled Precision Measurement Lab, under construction at NIST and due to be completed in the spring of 2012; and NTIA's radio, video and audio labs at the Public Safety Communications research facility.

At NOAA, Blank saw demonstrations of a unique visualization tool, Science on a Sphere; toured the Space Weather Prediction Center and the National Weather Service’s Forecast Research Center; viewed a demonstration of the wind profiler model; and visited the Global Monitoring Division and the Environmental Data Archive.

The cutting-edge work that takes place at the department impacts the daily lives of the American people – from the accurate timekeeping ability of the Atomic Clock to high-tech weather forecasting capabilities to the continuous improvement of communications devices used by first responders. The scientists and researchers at NIST, NTIA and NOAA are leaders in research and development and help to keep the United States at the forefront of innovation and global leadership.

Working with the Private-Sector to Enhance Cybersecurity

Howard Schmidt, Philip Reitinger, Dr. Patrick Gallagher

NIST Director Patrick Gallagher joined White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, Philip Reitinger of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Michael Kaiser of the National Cyber Security Alliance at the RSA Conference in San Francisco this week to discuss the need for increased public-private collaboration in cybersecurity

Engaging an audience of several hundred people, the panel highlighted the value of cybersecurity education and discussed ways to increase government-industry collaboration in the face of increasingly sophisticated threats in cyberspace.

Collaboration "is critical to winning the future," Schmidt said. "From everyday users to specialists who tackle our most challenging questions, the goal is to get everyone pulling in the same direction."

The panel also addressed a new Obama administration initiative to make the online environment more secure and convenient – the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. To be led by the private sector with coordination by the Commerce Department, the effort aims to develop voluntary identity credentials that limit the amount of personal information consumers must share online. Consumers could use the credential – a smart card, digital software certificate in their cell phone or other technology – to prove their identity for sensitive online transactions like banking or checking health care records. For surfing the Web, blogging, or other activities, they could remain anonymous.

"At NIST, just about every activity is done in conjunction with the private sector," Gallagher said. "It is the way we do business."

 

 

NIST Helps to Accelerate Federal Government Adoption of Cloud Computing

Department of Energy diagram of cloud computing

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued two new draft documents on cloud computing for public comment, including the first set of guidelines for managing security and privacy issues in cloud computing. The agency also has set up a new NIST Cloud Computing Collaboration website to enable two-way communication among the cloud community and the NIST cloud research working groups.

Cloud computing is a way for nearly anyone or any organization with access to the Internet to rent computer power for applications and data storage from cloud providers who run large computers. Working on a cloud feels the same to users, but the cloud provider performs the many management activities required to keep computers operating and secure.

U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra asked NIST to accelerate the federal government’s secure adoption of cloud computing by leading efforts to develop standards and guidelines in collaboration with standards organizations, the private sector and other stakeholders. The release of these new publications and the new website are part of NIST’s work to fulfill that mission.

The publications include The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing, which documents years of NIST research on cloud computing, and Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing, which provides an overview of the security and privacy challenges for public cloud computing and presents recommendations that organizations should consider when outsourcing data, applications and infrastructure to a public cloud environment.

The new Cloud Computing Collaboration website, developed to foster the cloud community’s collaboration on the federal government’s secure adoption of cloud computing, provides information about NIST’s cloud computing program and invites public participation on working groups that address a wide range of cloud computing topics.

To comment on these reports, contribute to the Wiki, or get additional information, visit http://www.nist.gov/itl/csd/cloud-020111.cfm

NIST Opens $20 Million Grant Competition to Support New Scientific Research Facilities

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has launched a new competition for grants to support the construction of new and expanded scientific research facilities at institutions of higher education and nonprofit scientific research organizations.

Through the NIST Construction Grant Program (NCGP), the agency expects $20 million to be available for grants ranging from $5 to $10 million over a period of no more than five years.

The program provides competitively awarded, cost-shared grants for the construction of new science research buildings or the expansion of existing buildings, including laboratories, test facilities, measurement facilities, research computing facilities and observatories. Proposed projects must complement the research goals of one or more of the department’s three science agencies: NIST, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). These agencies conduct research in measurement science, engineering, oceanography, atmospheric research and telecommunications.

Since 2008, NCGP has provided over $250 million in grant funding for new or expanded facilities at 24 institutions across the nation to pursue research in topics ranging from earthquakes and ocean ecology to nanoscale engineering and quantum physics.

Additional details of the competition, including deadlines, application procedures and requirements, are available at Grants.gov and the NCGP website. Read the full press release.

U.S. Commerce Department, NIST Host Standards Setting Forum

The three principal speakers at forum table

Secretary Locke opened a discussion with thought leaders from industry and academia today at the Commerce Department on the federal government’s role in setting, developing, using and adopting standards for critical national needs.

Together with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the department hosted the panel discussion led by Phil Weiser, senior advisor on technology and innovation at the White House National Economic Council. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and NIST Director and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology Patrick Gallagher also participated.

Achieving national priorities – which include a smart grid for electricity distribution, electronic health records, cybersecurity, cloud computing and interoperable emergency communications –depends upon the existence of sound technical standards. The standards being developed through public-private partnerships for these new technology sectors are helping to drive innovation, economic growth and job creation.

The roundtable provided key insights for the National Science and Technology Council's Sub-Committee on Standards, administered by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. NIST, on behalf of the subcommittee, recently published a Federal Register notice seeking input on effective federal participation in standards and conformity assessment activities related to technology.  Learn more at http://www.nist.gov/el/standards_roundtable.cfm.

What the America COMPETES Act Means for the Department of Commerce

This week, President Obama signed the America COMPETES Act, signifying the importance of science, education and technology to America’s ability to innovate and remain competitive in the 21st century. The America COMPETES Act reauthorizes spending across the federal government on a variety of programs at agencies like the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and here at the Department of Commerce.

The act authorizes our National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to receive funding that would double its core science and technology budget by 2017, and elevates the position of the director of NIST to include the additional title of Under Secretary for Standards and Technology. It better equips our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct cutting-edge research and further innovation in oceanic and atmospheric technology development. And it establishes a new Regional Innovation Program to be administered by our Economic Development Administration that encourages and develops regional innovation strategies like clusters and science and research parks that help businesses grow and take advantage of regional strengths. Finally, the new legislation reaffirms the mission of our Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship – first announced in September 2009 – which works to unleash and maximize the economic potential of new ideas by more quickly moving them from the research lab to the marketplace.

This renewed commitment to science, education and technology illustrated through bipartisan Congressional support for the America COMPETES Act will greatly benefit the work done at the U.S. Commerce Department, and help fuel U.S. job growth, economic development and global competitiveness. |  Locke statement | White House blog | NIST release

 

Vice President Biden and Commerce Secretary Locke Present Baldrige Award to Five Organizations

Biden and Locke pose on podiumVice President Joe Biden and U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Gary Locke presented five U.S. organizations with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence.

The ceremony—the 22nd in the history of the award—honored the 2009 recipients: Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies, Kansas City, Mo. (manufacturing); MidwayUSA, Columbia, Mo. (small business); AtlantiCare, Egg Harbor Township, N.J. (health care); Heartland Health, St. Joseph, Mo. (health care); and Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center, Albuquerque, N.M. (nonprofit).

The 2009 Baldrige Award recipients were selected from a field of 70 applicants. All of the applicants were evaluated rigorously by an independent board of examiners in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results. The evaluation process for each of the recipients included about 1,000 hours of review and an on-site visit by a team of examiners to clarify questions and verify information in the applications.  Read more

Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies is Honored to Receive the 2009 Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award

Today, Vice President Biden and Secretary Locke presented the 2009 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to five organizations honoring their organizational performance, excellence and innovation. Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses.

The Baldrige Program:

  • Raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economy
  • Provides organizational assessment tools and criteria
  • Educates leaders in businesses, schools, health care organizations, and government and nonprofit agencies about the practices of best-in-class organizations
  • Recognizes national role models and honors them with the only Presidential Award for performance excellence

Anthony Brancato III, President, Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies with Vice President Biden and Secretary LockeGuest blog post by by Anthony J. Brancato III, President, Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies

Today is a great day for Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies. We are receiving the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from Vice President Joe Biden and the Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke.

Several years ago, Honeywell was at a crossroads in our FM&T business. Declining budgets and aging infrastructure threatened our ability to be efficient and responsive to our customer. Today is a powerful illustration of how that scenario has changed for the better.

2010 Baldrige Award Winners Include 3 Small Businesses and 7 Total Organizations

Secretary Locke announced the recipients of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award today – the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership. The 2010 Baldrige Award recipients were selected from a field of 83 applicants and rigorously evaluated by an independent board of examiners in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results.

This year’s awards mark the first time that three small businesses have been selected at one time and only the second instance in the award’s 23-year history that a total of seven organizations are being honored. The 2010 Baldrige Award recipients are expected to be presented with their awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., next year.

The 2010 Baldrige Award recipients – listed with their category – are:

  • MEDRAD, Warrendale, Pa. (manufacturing)
  • Nestle Purina PetCare Co., St. Louis, Mo. (manufacturing)
  • Freese and Nichols Inc., Fort Worth, Texas (small business)
  • K&N Management, Austin, Texas (small business)
  • Studer Group, Gulf Breeze, Fla. (small business)
  • Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove, Ill. (health care)
  • Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Md. (education)

Read the press release and learn more about the Baldrige Award.