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Blog Category: National Institute of Standards and Technology

NIST Defining the Expanding World of Cloud Computing

Image of laptop computer.

Photo: Shutterstock

A working definition for cloud computing—a new computer technique with potential for achieving significant cost savings and information technology agility—has been released by a team of computer security experts at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Since the federal government is considering cloud computing as a component of its new technology infrastructure, it is NIST’s role to evaluate it and then promote its effective and secure use within government and industry by providing technical guidance and developing standards. (More)

New Study: Home Energy Savings Are Made in the Shade

Image of house and garage shaded by trees. Click for larger image.

Trees positioned to shade the west and south sides of a house may decrease summertime electric bills by 5 percent on average, according to a recent study of California homes by researchers from Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The first large-scale study of its kind, the research paper considers the effects of shade on 460 single-family homes in Sacramento during the summer of 2007 and provides hard statistics showing how well-placed shade trees can reduce energy costs and atmospheric carbon as well. (More)

Researchers Give High Marks to New Technology for Fingerprint Identification

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Overworked crime scene investigators can take heart at the results of recent tests at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of new technologies that automate the manual portion of latent fingerprint identification. Prototype systems evaluated by NIST performed surprisingly well for a developing technology: half of the prototypes were accurate at least 80 percent of the time and one had a near perfect score. Automating the manual portion of the work frees up time for trained examiners to spend time on very difficult images that the software has little hope of processing. (More)

NIST Announces Three-Phase Plan for Smart Grid Standards, Paving Way for More Efficient, Reliable Electricity

Image of electricity-producing wind farm. Click for larger image.

Photo: Shutterstock

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to moving the nation toward energy independence, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a three-phase plan to expedite development of key standards for a Smart Grid, a nationwide network that uses information technology to deliver electricity efficiently, reliably and securely. The recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) contains investments critical to spurring the Smart Grid development process. The Smart Grid will allow wind farms to send their energy farther from their source. (More) (NIST Recovery Act Information)

NIST Improves Microscope's Stability for Nanomanufacturing Biology

Ian an atomic force microscope (AFM), force is measured by a laser beam, yellow in this artist's rendition. AFM photo.

Photo: G. Kuebler/JILA/CU

A research team from the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado has improved by 100 times the stability of a workhorse tool in nanotechnology, known as the atomic force microscope, potentially improving a wide range of areas from nanomanufacturing to biology, where sensitive, atom-scale measurements must be made at room temperature in liquids. (More)

Commerce, USDA and FCC Announce Public Meetings on Recovery Act's Broadband Initiatives

Seen on stage are Agriculture Secretary Vilsack at podium, and seated are Commerce Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff Rick Wade, Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps and National Telecommunications and Information Administration Acting Administrator Anna Gomez. Click for larger image.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps and U.S. Department of Commerce Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff Rick Wade kicked off the joint broadband initiative under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and announced a series of public meetings that will give Americans an opportunity to help shape the program. “President Obama believes in the power of broadband. Broadband deployment throughout the country will help drive the nation's economic recovery and growth," Wade said. (More)

Safer Net Surfing is Goal of NIST Domain Name Security Experts

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When you type www.irs.gov—or the Web address of your bank or an e-commerce site—into your web browser, you want to be sure that no one is hijacking your request and sending you to a bogus look-alike page. You’re relying on the integrity of the Internet’s “phone book,” the Domain Name System (DNS). Computer scientists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are playing a major role in making sure that what you type is what you get by providing standards, guidance and testing necessary to bolster the trustworthiness of the global DNS. A draft update of NIST’s guidelines for DNS security is now available for public comment. (More)

NIST: Updated Recommendations for Protecting Wireless, Remote Access Data

NIST logo.

Telecommuting has freed many to work far from the confines of the office via laptop, but the price of working while sipping a latte at that sunny café is the danger that a public network will not keep the data that passes through it safe. Now, to combat the risk inherent in remote access, Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has updated its guide on maintaining data security while teleworking. The revised guide offers advice for protecting the wide variety of private and mobile devices from threats that have appeared since the first edition appeared in August 2002. (More)

NIST, Brookhaven Researchers Use Tuberculosis Bacteria to End 25-Year Quest

The bacterium behind one of mankind's deadliest scourges, tuberculosis, is helping researchers at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) move closer to answering the decades-old question of what controls the switching on and off of genes that carry out all of life's functions. In a Journal of Biological Chemistry paper, the NIST/BNL team reports that it has defined—for the first time—the structure of a "metabolic switch" found inside most types of bacteria. (More)

NIST Participates in National Fire Safety Experiments

Image of a firefighter on ladder with building smoke.

International Association of Fire Fighters

This week, the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is contributing its expertise in measurement science to a series of national fire safety experiments examining the effect of firefighting crew sizes and equipment arrival times on the growth rates of fires and survivability times in structure-related building fires.Data from these experiments will help governments make informed decisions to better match their resources with the risks to the public and firefighters in their communities. (More)