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Blog Category: National Institute of Standards and Technology

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.

Free NIST Software Tool Boosts Detection of Software Bugs

Alternate TextResearchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have released an updated version of a computer system testing tool that can cut software development costs by more efficiently finding flaws.

Catching software “bugs” is traditionally difficult and time-consuming. About 50 percent of software development budgets go to testing, yet flaws in software still cost the U.S. economy $59.5 billion annually. In efforts to address this issue, NIST designed the Advanced Combinatorial Testing System (ACTS), a freely available software tool.

Fewer software flaws mean enhanced security for personal, government and corporate systems. Hackers often take advantage of software flaws to introduce malware including viruses and botnets to disrupt or take control of computer systems. Once inside a computer, attackers can access personal information or valuable company data.

The NIST Combinatorial Testing for Software is based on research by NIST and others and generates a plan for testing combinations of two to six variables that can interact and cause errors. While studying software crashes of medical device and Web browsers, researchers determined that between 70 and 95 percent of software failures are triggered by only two variables interacting, and practically 100 percent of software failures are triggered by no more than six. In one project, NIST could test all six-way combinations with only 522 tests instead of 17 billion, and find nearly 100 percent of the flaws.

Since the first version was released in 2008, it has been downloaded by 465 times by industry, academia, government and individuals.

For more information, visit http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SNS/acts/index.html.  

NIST Hosts Second Cloud Computing Workshop, Urges Greater Government Use of Cloud Computing

NIST Director Pat Gallagher at Podium

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) kicked off the second Cloud Computing Forum & Workshop today at its headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md., providing a report on the agency’s efforts to collaboratively develop a Cloud Computing Roadmap among multiple federal and industrial stakeholders.  

NIST Director Patrick Gallagher and U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra opened the two-day workshop and told hundreds of industry and government attendees that they wanted the information technology community's help in developing a "roadmap for action" to increase government use of the cloud. Both stressed the need for open discussion and participation among all stakeholders in developing policies to address challenges like security requirements for cloud services. Cloud computing is not just a fad, Kundra said, but represents a fundamental shift in how chief information officers can provide cost-effective information technology services for their organizations.

NIST held the first Cloud Computing Workshop in May to initiate engagement with industry to accelerate the development of cloud standards for interoperability, portability and security; introduce NIST Cloud Computing efforts; and discuss the federal government's experience with cloud computing.

The Cloud Computing Forum & Workshop II continues through Friday. For more information, visit http://www.nist.gov/itl/cloud/cloudworkshopii.cfm.

NIST Study on Charleston Furniture Store Fire Calls for National Safety Improvements

NIST Official at Podium Discussing ReportA report released today by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on the June 18, 2007 fire at the Sofa Super Store in Charleston, S.C., calls for national safety improvements and provides 11 recommendations for enhancing building, occupant and firefighter safety. The Sofa Super Store fire trapped and killed nine firefighters, the highest number of firefighter fatalities in a single event since 9/11.

NIST experts traveled to Charleston to gather data within 36 hours of the Sofa Super Store fire. Along with building design documents, video and photographic images, and other records, the study team developed a computer model to simulate and analyze the characteristics of the fire. Based on their study, they were able to outline the major factors that contributed to the rapid spread of fire, which included large, open spaces with furniture providing high-fuel loads; the inward rush of air following the breaking of windows; and a lack of sprinklers.

Specific recommendations in the report call for national model building and fire codes to require sprinklers for all new commercial retail furniture stores regardless of size and for existing retail furniture stores with a display area larger than 2,000 square feet. Other recommendations include ensuring proper fire inspections and building plan examinations, and encouraging research for a better understanding of specific fire situations. Release

Secretary Locke Keynotes Annual GridWeek Conference

Secretary Locke at lecternSecretary of Commerce Gary Locke delivered the opening keynote address today at the 2010 GridWeek Conference at the Washington Convention Center. The annual conference brings together key leaders and stakeholders from the energy industry to explore the Smart Grid’s impact on the economy, utility infrastructure, consumers and the environment.

The 2010 Conference focused on international Smart Grid policies, programs, collaborations and standards-harmonization efforts. Locke discussed increased global cooperation among industry and government leaders on Smart Grid standards and highlighted U.S. industry leadership in advancing the harmonization and deployment of these standards. He also acknowledged the Commerce Department’s George Arnold, who won this year’s GridWeek International Award for his work in advancing international Smart Grid cooperation and standards. Arnold is the national coordinator for Smart Grid interoperability at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

"If a Smart Grid is built here in the United States, it can help reduce power demand by more than 20 percent," Locke said in his remarks. "If Smart Grids are rolled out around the world, the reduction in global energy demand and the corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions will be transformative."

The Obama administration has allocated $11 billion in investments through the Recovery Act for Smart Grid technologies, transmission system expansion and upgrades, and other investments to modernize and enhance the electric transmission infrastructure.  Remarks

Commerce Department Awards $9.1 Million to Enhance the Global Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturers

Image of MEP logoCommerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced $9.1 million in cooperative agreements through its Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) for 22 projects designed to enhance the productivity, technological performance and global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.  

Granted through competitive processes to nonprofit organizations, the funding will help encourage the creation and adoption of improved technologies and provide resources to develop new products that respond to changing market needs.

"A vibrant manufacturing sector drives American innovation and is central to our economic growth and global competitiveness," U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. "With the right investments, we can continue to create highly valued manufacturing jobs building great products and sell them around the world."

The proposals selected represent a variety of compelling ideas for helping small and medium-sized U.S. manufacturers tackle a complex set of needs with cost-effective and innovative solutions.

For more details on the award recipients and the MEP program, visit http://www.nist.gov/mep/mep_100510.cfm.  Read more